Wisconsin Football: Five Badgers Key to an Outback Bowl Victory

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No. 5: Quarterback Joel Stave

Good or bad, Joel Stave might have the biggest impact on the 2015 Outback Bowl of any Wisconsin Badgers player.

Stave has had a roller coaster season, dating all the way back to the uncertainty surrounding the quarterback battle in the off-season and early in the non-conference slate.

Tanner McEvoy was given the starting nod to open the season, and Stave didn’t see the field until the Badgers conference opening loss to Northwestern. Stave held the starting gig from then on, but produce mixed results.

Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

As strong as he played against Purdue, Maryland and Minnesota, Stave looked downright awful at other times, most notably the Big Ten Championship against Ohio State (17 of 43 for 187 yards and three interceptions)

Still, Stave has shown flashes of competence, and to be quite honest, competence is all Wisconsin needs come New Years Day.

The Badgers feature the best running back in college football, and even the slightest hint of a threat in the passing game will make Melvin Gordon an even more effective rusher.

Stave will at the very least need to be able to pick up an occasional third-and-long and throw down the field to loosen the defensive box. We saw all too well how Wisconsin can struggle when the quarterbacks can’t continue a drive if the running game fails on first and second down.

Auburn will be keying on Gordon – that’s no secret. Stave will have to step his game up, or the Badgers can’t hope to emerge with a victory.

Next: No. 4: Safety Michael Caputo