Wisconsin Badgers Will Look to Find Their ‘Groove’ Heading Into Showdown with Miami (OH) Redhawks


My apologies to the Miami (OH) Redhawks. I have a feeling when you travel to Madison on Saturday to face the Wisconsin Badgers, it’s going to end up being an afternoon you will want to forget. As for the Badgers, they will use this game to retain their groove on the ground that they happened to lose in their defeat to Alabama.

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Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

After Wisconsin was seemingly blown out by the Tide Saturday night, running back Corey Clement stated the reason the passing game worked so well was that Wisconsin was “catching a groove.” That’s fine and all, but what about the Badgers’ bread and butter? What about the running game? Clement went on to say the running game failed because “it was just we haven’t found our groove yet.”

That may be surprising to some, seeing as Wisconsin has had a great tradition and success in recent memory of running the football. But this year is different. This year the line is young and inexperienced, with just two players (LT Senior Tyler Marz and C Junior Dan Voltz) having started any game during their time at Wisconsin. That left redshirt freshman Michael Dieter at left guard, junior Walker Williams at right guard and sophomore Hayden Biegel at right tackle. Not to mention because of injuries throughout fall camp, the first time this crew played together was inside AT&T Stadium against a very tough Alabama defense.

So to say this running game is still searching for a groove would be a slight understatement.

Wisconsin really needs to improve their running game from last weekend that saw wide receiver Alex Erickson as their leading rusher-one end around that resulted in a 25-yard gain. That also accounted for 63% of the team’s total on the ground (40 yards) for the entire game.

But Clement will definitely need to find his groove. His 16 yards on eight carries performance was far from encouraging. It did come out later, however, that he tweaked his groin earlier in the week. That doesn’t explain why Taiwan Deal and Dare Ogunbowale combined only gained 23 yards, though. Not as talented a runner as Clement, those two will be looked upon throughout the course of the season to give Clement any relief that he may need. Even with Wisconsin throwing more in the second half and the line being banged up, you would to see more production out of the running game as a whole.

Which brings me back to the Redhawks, the Badgers opponent in the season’s home opener. They gave up 155 yards to a lowly Presbyterian College team in a 26-7 victory. Even with a lackluster performance last Saturday, Wisconsin should have no problem literally running all over Miami (OH) inside Camp Randall Stadium.

And Clement should be healthy enough to play, which means the star running back will be looking to regain his groove. So will the offensive line as they face a defense that is not at the caliber that the Tide was. It will give the Badgers plenty to work on and plenty to try Saturday afternoon. It will also provide Deal and Ogunbowale to not only find their groove but hopefully help stay in that groove as the season goes on.

Next: Big Ten Power Rankings: Wild Week One

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