The Wisconsin football team is taking on the Eastern Michigan Eagles on Saturday evening at Camp Randall. They will be looking to clean a few things up after their disappointing performance on Saturday against Penn State where they scored just once in four red zone opportunities.
Eastern Michigan is a MAC team that is coming off of a 35-15 victory over St. Francis last weekend. The Badgers have a chance to take on a lesser opponent and fix the little things before they travel to Chicago to take on Notre Dame at Soldier Field on September 25th. This for all intents and purposes, is a get-right game for the Wisconsin football team.
As a fan, you hope they will take out their frustrations from last week on Eastern Michigan.
Fans are known to overreact to a team’s performance, leading to bold thoughts and predictions about the future of their favorite team. So with that, here are some bold predictions about the Badgers game against Eastern Michigan.
Nick Herbig will get 3+ sacks
We saw Nick Herbig get into the backfield multiple times against Penn State, including a nice pass rush leading to a sack where he blew right by the right tackle. He totaled three tackles with a sack and a tackle for a loss against Penn State.
Eastern Michigan will have a significantly less-talented offensive line than Penn State did. Nick Herbig and the rest of the defensive front have to be licking their chops this week heading into this matchup.
The defense as a whole got a good amount of pressure on Sean Clifford last week, especially in the first half. I think Leonhard is going to dial up some pressures again next week, making life hard on Eastern Michigan’s quarterbacks.
Chez Mellusi will run for 200+ yards and a pair of touchdowns
We saw what Chez Mellusi could do in his first game with the Wisconsin football team in Week 1. Against a very good Penn State team, Mellusi ran for 121 yards on 31 carries (3.9 ypc) and a touchdown. He also added in two receptions for eight yards.
Mellusi took the bulk of the carries, but he did share carries with backup Isaac Guerendo, who had 13 carries for 56 yards (4.3 ypc). The big surprise was Jalen Berger didn’t get a carry. Paul Chryst has downplayed the whole situation, so maybe it really isn’t a big deal, but one thing is for sure: Chez Mellusi is RB1.
Last week, the Eagles gave up just 105 yards rushing to St. Francis. Again, Wisconsin is a whole different animal than what the Eagles played last week. The offensive line for the Badgers is much better and the whole stable of running backs are more talented than what the St. Francis Red Flash has to offer.
I think Guerendo and Berger will both get carries, and maybe even guys behind them in this game. But I think Mellusi will continue to be the bell cow and will break a couple of big runs this weekend.
Graham Mertz completes 75% of passes; throws for 250+ yards and two touchdowns
A lot of fans were happy to throw Mertz under the bus last week after his performance. In truth, he didn’t play well, but it wasn’t completely on him. His offensive line and the play-calling didn’t really do him any favors.
He finished the game attempting 37 passes, which is not something we are accustomed to watching as Wisconsin football fans. He completed 22-of-37 passes (59.5%) for 185 yards and two interceptions. He missed a lot of throws, including a potential game-winner to Chimere Dike towards the end of the game. A lot of his passes seemed to float in the air too. Not necessarily what we saw early last year when he was playing at his best.
Mertz has an opportunity to get back in rhythm and more importantly, gain some confidence against Eastern Michigan this weekend that he can carry with him into the Notre Dame game coming up later this month.