Badger of Honor contributors made their picks for the Wisconsin Football game this weekend.
Zac Pestine: Wisconsin will have its hands full in what will be a war of attrition. Jonathan Taylor versus the Michigan run defense will be a key matchup, and winning that matchup could mean winning the game. The Badgers young secondary has been exposed and will be without leader Scott Nelson in the first half due to a targeting penalty against Nebraska. Wisconsin is not a bad team, but it will have to muster everything it has in this matchup, which Chryst and Co. should be ready to do. Wisconsin 21, Michigan 20.
Christian Borman: Michigan’s Shea Patterson is finding his stride in the Wolverine offense. With Scott Nelson out for the first half, it will be tough for this battered and inexperienced secondary to lock Michigan down. Wisconsin will need to keep up in a potential shootout. Look for Michigan’s two-headed monster on the defensive line to disrupt the Wisconsin offense all day long. Wisconsin loses a tough one on the road. Michigan 27, Wisconsin 17.
Cory Hilborne: Wisconsin is going into a very tough atmosphere against an excellent team with some glaring weaknesses in the back end of the defense. That might be too much for most coaches and teams to overcome but this Badgers team is special. Paul Chryst won’t flinch and neither will Jim Leonard. Expect lots of zone coverage to limit the one-on-one matchups between young DB’s against the Michigan WR’s. If the Badgers can keep this thing close in the first half without Scott Nelson the Wolverines will be on upset alert. Jonathan Taylor goes over 120 yards on the ground and Wisconsin wins its 11th-straight road game. Wisconsin 27, Michigan 23.
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Steven Tondi: Wisconsin comes into this game with a banged up defense who struggled to contain a potent passing attack last week. The Badgers offense seems to be hitting its stride and will need to put up plenty of points to come out of Ann Arbor with the victory. The offense finds success against Michigan’s impressive defense but it is not enough to overcome the deficiencies of their defense. Patterson makes enough plays and gives the Wolverines the win. Michigan 31, Wisconsin 23.
Sam Land: Wisconsin does not have an ideal matchup this weekend against Michigan, to say the least. The Wolverines boast one of the nation’s most talented defenses and will present the toughest challenge Wisconsin’s offensive line has faced this season. If the big boys up front struggle to create holes for Jonathan Taylor it will be a very long night for the Badgers, especially if Alex Hornibrook can’t open things up in the passing games.
In addition, Shea Patterson and Michigan’s offense have been humming lately and have got to be licking their chops at the chance to pick apart this struggling and injured secondary that will be missing a key piece in safety Scott Nelson in the first half. There’s just too much that could, and I think will, go wrong for Wisconsin in this one. Michigan 27, Wisconsin 17.
Tanner Nestle: The Badgers need to do a lot of things right and honestly might need to count on Michigan to make mistakes to win. With as beat up as Wisconsin’s defense is, Michigan is good enough to win by simply playing mistake-free football. But Wisconsin is great at taking advantage of mistakes, and Jonathan Taylor could break a few runs loose to change the flow of this game. Alex Hornibrook is the true X-factor here. If he plays well, Wisconsin has a shot. And if Wisconsin plays a clean game, I trust Paul Chryst’s game plan to make it close enough for Wisconsin’s playmakers to seal the deal in the end. Wisconsin 24, Michigan 23.