By Ryan Clark
Spread: Wisconsin -14 ½
Game Time/ TV/ Location/ Weather: 11:00 CT/ BTN/ Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE/ High of 47, chance of precip 10%, winds 15-25 mph
Wisconsin: The Badgers (7-2, 4-2) are coming off a 24-22 victory over Iowa last weekend. Wisconsin outgained the Hawkeyes 473-295 and had possession of the ball for over 37 minutes. Heisman hopeful Jonathan Taylor was the star of the show, as he gashed Iowa for a whopping 250 yards. And this was against Iowa’s 11th-ranked defense. The Hawkeyes rallied in the 4th, but came up just short. The Badgers are still optimistic about capturing the B1G West crown, but will need help from these same Hawkeyes, as Iowa hosts Minnesota this weekend.
Nebraska: The Huskers (4-5, 2-4) are coming off a bye week. They’ve lost three in a row and four of their last five. Their last victory was a rather uninspiring 13-10 win over Northwestern on Oct 5. Since then, they’ve lost to Minnesota (34-7), Indiana (38-31), and Purdue (31-27). The offense has been ok, but the defense has been just plain awful. What happened to the once-famed Blackshirts? As if things weren’t bad enough, future star WR Wan’Dale Robinson is doubtful for this one with an undisclosed injury.
Final Analysis & Pick: It’s the Battle for the Freedom Trophy! Sadly, though, these are not the Huskers of old. I’m hopeful that Nebraska can once again become a power, because a good Nebraska would benefit the conference as a whole. Maybe in time. Here’s some stats to consider for this one:
The Huskers really don’t stand a chance in this one. They’re currently 83rd in the country in rush defense, and now they’ll face one of the best offensive lines and RB’s in the country. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jonathan Taylor gets 300 yards on the day. Wisconsin’s not a one-horse show, either. QB Jack Coan can sling it, as he has 1664 yards, 12 TD’s and just three INT’s on the year. Conversely, Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez has shown a knack for turning the ball over, as he has six INT’s and four fumbles so far, and that’s only in the seven games he’s played in this year. The line started out at Wisconsin -13, and since moved to the 14 ½ that it’s at now. I’m actually surprised it’s not higher. Nebraska just doesn’t have the playmakers right now to make this a game. Go with Wisconsin in this one, as I can see this one being similar to the 34-7 beatdown that Minnesota put on the Huskers earlier this year.