Penn State vs. Wisconsin: Badger perspective

Since 2005, Masdison, Wisc. native dl004d has been providing a preview of his beloved Badgers for WWN prior to playing my beloved Nittany Lions. He was kind enough to provide this preview::

We started the season strong. Our win at then-Top 25 Fresno State was seen as a big sign that the team was ready to compete for a top-notch bowl game. Losing at Michigan after blowing a 19-0 lead hurt. We followed that up, as you all know, by blowing a 4th-quarter lead at home against Ohio State last week. Losing two in a row, duh, disappointed people and it’s hard to say if the crowd will be as energized this week.

Also, there remains a good chance that the marching band will remain suspended, meaning the stadium is left to pump in noise, which really isn’t the same.

Editor’s note: The band has been reinstated. I can only imagine that Guido D’Elia is trying to figure out how the Blue Band can get suspended

STRENGTHS

Running backs: Most Wisconsin fans hope freshman John Clay, averaging 6.7 yards per carry, finally can stop being the “change of pace” back and become the featured runner in this offense.

Tight ends: Travis Beckam and also Garrett Graham have been our favorite targets. Beckam is a likely 1st-round NFL draft pick. Both have been hurt and missed significant time, though.

Offensive line: Left tackle Dave Carimi was hurt against Ohio State. I don’t know if he’s playing this week, but it would be a blow to the Badgers if he’s out.

Punter/kicker: It hasn’t mattered yet this year, but we’ve got a good kicking game.

WEAKNESSES

Quarterback. Senior Alan Evridge is a first-year senior who has struggled to find success. He angers me by taking a three-step drop, leaving him too close to opposing lines (which close in on him wayyyy too quickly) and leaving him not enough time to ever throw to a deep receiver. As a result, he throws crossing patterns to the TEs and quick outs to the WRs and that’s it. But in his defense, drops by his WRs have made him look even worse than he really is.

Wide receivers: Nothing special in this year’s crop of WRs. Way too many drops. I’m not pleased with this facet of the game.

Return game: Blech. Wisconsin seemingly never started drives outside its own 20 last week.

Notice that I didn’t mention the defense. I don’t know what to say about them. But for the first and last drives of the game against Ohio State, they kept the Buckeyes in check. But on those two drives — especially the last one, which was the game-winner — OSU went right down the field and scored… meaning it’s hard to know how much confidence to have in this defense.

Prediction
Penn State 26
Wisconsin 17

Since 2006, we’ve been having a “mayor’s bet” (the absolute best form of gambling) on the game as well — I put a box of Grilled Stickies on the the line while he offers up some Wisconsin cheese. So far, we’ve split the series. Oh and there is the universal currency of respect/humiliation at stake.

This is the last hurrah for a while as Wisconsin rotates off the schedule until 2011, so the winner has three years of gloating ahead of him. Why can’t we just play Indiana or Purdue less frequently and keep Wisconsin on as often as Michigan? Another “why?” is why didn’t we find a way to see Penn State in Madison in 2006 when
a friend of ours was living there. She moved back to Delaware and just passed the bar. Congratulations Tortcaesar.

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