Wisconsin Football: Key matchups to watch vs. Northwestern

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Here are three matchups that will decide the outcome when Wisconsin football hosts the Northwestern Wildcats.

. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Wisconsin football is flying sky-high coming off a very impressive win over Michigan. The Badgers came out hot on offense scoring on the first drive and didn’t look back. They were up 35-0 at one point in the game before Michigan put a couple of drives together to make the score look somewhat respectable, but the game wasn’t as close as the score shows.

Not only did they blow out a “contender” in the Big Ten, but Wisconsin football also gained a couple of recruits after the game as well. It was a great weekend to be a Badger fan. But as great as it all was, it’s time to focus on what is ahead, and that’s the Northwestern Wildcats.

Northwestern is the reigning Big Ten West champion who comes to Madison with a 1-2 record. They lost a close game in the opening weekend to Stanford, then beat UNLV rather handily, and just lost to a tough Michigan St. team 31-10. This doesn’t feel like the same Northwestern team that went 8-1 in the Big Ten last season, including a 31-17 win over the Badgers, but you can’t take them lightly. A team coached by Pat Fitzgerald will still be pretty good defensively. Their offense can’t quite seem to get it going, averaging just under 16 points per game and ranking 125th in the country in total offense, averaging just 305 yards per game.

With Northwestern’s offense struggling, the defense is again the strength of this team. They shut Jonathan Taylor down last year, allowing just 46 yards on 11 carries. Garrett Groshek was the leading rusher with 68 yards. The Badgers have struggled to run against the Wildcats in recent games. They will look to change that this weekend.

Let’s take a look at three matchups that will play a big part in the game on Saturday.

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