Badgers vs Hoosiers: Next Step for Wisconsin Football


Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

There are three steps left for Bucky to take to accomplish a ten win regular season and a possible BCS bowl bid.

The first step is defeating the Indiana Hoosiers 4-5 (2-3) at Camp Randall on Saturday.

Wisconsin is 7-2 (4-1) and is still recovering from the wound left by the ref blunder at the end of the Arizona State game. The Badgers are No. 17 in the AP poll but are still disrespected by the computers sitting at No. 22 in the BCS rankings. But winning cures all and that is what the Badgers have been doing lately.

The Badgers will look to keep the momentum of their four-game winning streak going, which includes impressive wins at Iowa and over BYU in the last two weeks.

A big reason for Wisconsin’s success is its dominant defense, currently sixth in the nation allowing 15.2 points-per-game. The other reason is the Badgers’ consistent running game. Melvin Gordon III has been leading the Badgers all year on the ground but in the past two weeks it’s been senior James White who has stepped up. White has led the Badgers to victory with 279 rushing yards and five total touchdowns in the last two weeks.

Indiana might not even want to get off of the bus when it gets to Madison if they don’t play the Badgers better than they have in recent years.

83-20, 59-7 and 62-14… Those are the scores that Wisconsin has beaten Indiana by in the previous three seasons. But this Hoosier squad is better than their previous versions, at least at scoring that is.

The Hoosiers are tenth in the nation at scoring putting up an impressive 43.1 points-per-game. Their sophomore quarterback Nate Sudfeld has chucked 19 touchdowns on the year. Sudfeld has been throwing to a fantastic duo of junior receivers in Cody Latimore and Shane Wynn. Those two receivers have combined for 15 touchdowns on the season, thus the Hoosiers have much more balance and depth at the receiver position than the Badgers whose two starting wide receivers are Jared Abbrederis and Jared Abbrederis.

Unfortunately for the Hoosiers their star running back, sophomore Tevin Coleman, will most-likely be sidelined for the matchup with the Badgers. Not an ideal time for Indiana to lose such a valuable part of their offense. Coleman has 958 yards and 12 touchdowns on the year and is coming off a 215 yard rushing performance in a win over Illinois.

The star running back hasn’t officially been listed out for the game but all reports are saying he’s almost a lock to not play at Camp Randall.

The Indiana Hoosiers will try to get the Badgers into a shootout on Saturday, utilizing their depth at receiver and the right arm of Sudfeld. Expect the Hoosier to air it out early on the Badgers young secondary.

The Badgers’ secondary has to be the bright spot for the Badgers this season as many expected it to struggle due to inexperience and lack of depth. But freshman Sojourn Shelton, sophomore Michael Caputo and sophomore Darius Hilary have stepped up to provide solid play for Wisconsin. These underclassman joined senior Dezman Southward and junior Peniel Jean to help the Badgers have what could be the best defense in the Big Ten (Sparty disagrees).

If the Badgers can slow down the Hoosiers’ passing attack and control the time of possession with their trademark running attack Bucky should be doing plenty of post-score pushups en route to a Badgers victory.

I think Wisconsin is too much for Indiana to handle and the Hoosiers end up with their lowest point total of the season. Final: 38-24 Wisconsin. That’s the way I see it.

The game can be watched on ESPN2 at 11:00 AM CT.

Who’s ready to jump around?