Wisconsin Football vs. Alabama: Position-by-Position Matchups

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Jan 1, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Joel Stave (2) throws the ball against the Auburn Tigers during the second half in the 2015 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Wisconsin Badgers defeated the Auburn Tigers 34-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


 The 4 quarterbacks fighting for the Alabama starting job have only thrown a total of 100 passes, all of which have been thrown by senior Jacob Coker in garbage minutes.

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In comparison, Joel Stave will be a 4th year starter and has thrown 661 passes. He has started many marquee games, including the Big Ten Championship and bowl games against SEC powers, so the pressure won’t faze him. While he has been inconsistent, he finally has a system and coach he is comfortable with, along with more confidence. We should see a huge improvement from Stave this year, maybe even a Scott Tolzien-like season. He is ready to handle anything thrown his way.

The same can’t be said for Coker, or whichever quarterback Nick Saban chooses. So while Stave hasn’t always been consistent, I would want the more experienced, proven quarterback in a primetime, high stakes game like this.

Edge: Wisconsin (Wisconsin 1-0)

Running Back

Corey Clement looks up the field during a game against Maryland. Jim Oxley photograph

Corey Clement is no Melvin Gordon. But that does not mean he can’t also be a great running back. With his mix of speed, vision, and power, he will be tough to contain in open space. I wouldn’t be remotely surprised if he surpassed 1,800 yards this season, continuing the proud tradition of Running-Back U.

Meanwhile, Alabama running back Derek Henry is a mountain of a man. At 6 foot 3 and 240 pounds, I can’t imagine he is fun to tackle. And unlike most bruisers his size, he doesn’t lack in the speed department. Henry and Clement are pretty evenly matched, and will both certainly take a huge leap now that they are going to be featured backs.

So how about the back-ups? Wisconsin’s Dare Ogunbowale and Taiwan Deal, a former 4-star recruit, both have potential, but are unproven. Alabama’s Kenyon Drake is a dynamic big-play back, but it remains to be seen how well he can recover from his gruesome leg injury.

Edge: Draw (Wisconsin 1-0)

Next: Wide Receivers/Tight Ends