Wisconsin Football: Key matchups to watch vs. Western Kentucky

MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 09: Michael Deiter (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 09: Michael Deiter (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Wisconsin Football - Minnesota Gophers
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – NOVEMBER 25: Adekunle Ayinde #4 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers tackles Kendric Pryor #3 of the Wisconsin Badgers during the first quarter of the game on November 25, 2017 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Badgers WR’s vs. WKU Secondary

This matchup is intriguing for a variety of reasons, one being obvious to most Badger fans.  The suspensions of Quintez Cephus (indefinitely) and Danny Davis (2 games) put a damper on the high expectations for this unit.  Despite the suspensions, the Badgers still have a duo that seems more than capable of holding down the fort.  Based on reports, Kendric Pryor has had one of the best fall camps on the team.  His big-play capability will be needed in the first two games in order to prevent opposing defenses from loading the box against the run.

A.J Taylor becomes the no. 1 receiver and will be relied heavily on to be Hornibrook’s top possession threat.  Whenever Wisconsin needed a big play in the passing game down the stretch last year, Taylor rose to the occasion.  It is apparent that Taylor has continued his development and growth over the off-season.  Working out with Hornibrook over spring break will only make that connection even stronger.  Taylor got dinged up a bit in camp, but it appears he will be ready to go on Friday night.

Walk-ons Jack Dunn and Adam Krumholz and freshmen Aron Cruickshank and Taj Mustapha will need to provide depth for at least the first two games.  Cruickshank has been on a tear during camp but will most likely not be able to take on the entire playbook.  Look for Cruickshank and Mustapha to be used exclusively in certain packages.  Dunn and Krumholz are redshirt sophomores and should be comfortable within the Wisconsin offense.  Look for Dunn to make some plays in the slot on Friday night

The intrigue for this matchup is also influenced by Western Kentucky’s secondary.  The Hilltoppers’ passing defense was a definite strength for this team a year ago.  WKU finished 40th in passing yards allowed per game against some explosive offenses in Conference USA.  Most of the players from that unit return and will look to build upon their success from last year.  WKU’s best CB, DeAndre Farris, led his conference in pass breakups with 14.  This should be a good test for some of the Badgers’ young receivers who need experience and reps against quality corners.