Wisconsin linebackers vs. Zach Charbonnet
It’s no secret that Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson has been a bit of a disappointment this season. There were high expectations for him this season and I believe I’ve seen the word Heisman thrown around with his name attached as well. He hasn’t been bad, but he hasn’t been lighting it up either.
When Patterson couldn’t get it going against Army, the Wolverines turned to running back Zach Charbonnet. He ran for 100 on 33 carries and scored three touchdowns. He was instrumental in helping Michigan avoid an upset against Army.
The freshman running back will be a big part of this Michigan offense. It will be up to this Wisconsin defense to take him away. With defensive tackle Bryson Williams out again this week, it will be up to true freshman Keeanu Benton to help plug up the line. He’s going to need some help against this stout Michigan offensive line.
The Wisconsin linebackers are going to be a big part of stopping Charbonnet and this Wolverine rushing attack. At inside linebacker, Chris Orr and Jack Sanborn have been solid. But so have their backups. Mike Maskalunas and true freshman Leo Chenal are actually the top two tacklers on the team.
At outside linebacker, the Badgers have had multiple guys play and contribute. Zack Baun has sacks in back-to-back games and Izayah Green-May could be coming back after missing the game against Central Michigan.
These linebackers are a big reason why Wisconsin football has the number one defense in the country in total defense. The Badgers have given up just 107.5 yards per game. The next closest is TCU, who has given up 209.5 yards per game. That’s a difference of 102 yards! That’s an insane number. Naturally, you can’t expect the Badgers defense to keep Big Ten opponents to under 110 yards per game, but being able to do that with lesser opponents is an encouraging sign.
If Wisconsin can shut down the running game of Michigan, Baun and these outside linebackers should be able to pin their ears back and get after Patterson. The linebackers vs. Charbonnet will be a big matchup to keep an eye on.