HuskerOnline – Wisconsin skilled offers his take and prediction on Saturday’s sport
Nebraska will play Wisconsin for the primary time because the 2019 season on Saturday.
To get some extra point of view on Saturday’s sport, HuskerOnline stuck up with BadgerBlitz.com’s Jake Kocorowski to get his take and prediction on Saturday’s sport in Madison.
There was once some extent this season the place Wisconsin gave the impression of that they had no likelihood to win the West. What was once the turning level?
“It was really after the Michigan loss where things started to piece together, so let’s pin that beginning with the shutout win at Illinois. The defense held up against the run and created pressure throughout the season, but the offense sputtered with inconsistency. The ground game came alive and has averaged 284 yards in its last five Big Ten contests (it also played Army during its six-game winning streak and gained 198 in that close victory).
“Then the passing assault, appearing glimpses of its possible in short throughout the primary 8 outings, emerged in giant techniques throughout the remaining two Ws in averaging over 250 yards in keeping with contest.
“Back to the defense, it also has limited big plays through the air during its six-game winning streak. The biggest change, however, has been the creation of turnovers. UW has generated 16 takeaways over the last four contests (including those on special teams). That has led to the big wins against Purdue, Iowa, Rutgers and Northwestern.”
Youve observed a large number of excellent Badger operating backs, what do you favor about Braelon Allen? How vibrant is his long term?
“You can now add “Braelon Allen is best 17 years previous!” to the Wisconsin telecast bingo card, right next to “Jake Ferguson, who’s the grandson of Barry Alvarez” and “Did you recognize Badgers males’s basketball guards Brad Davison and Jonathan Davis had been highschool quarterbacks?”
“Kidding apart, Allen’s long term is vibrant. I knew he’d be bodily in a position to compete this season because of his otherworldly weight room numbers prior to now 12 months and this summer season. It was once simply whether or not he’d be capable to adapt to the nuances and velocity of the school sport, and if he may bump up within the intensity chart at tailback. He’s executed that, after which some — particularly with attrition and accidents on the tailback spot.
“What’s stood out, besides his physicality and his 6-foot-2, 238-pound frame, is his maturity, early patience and vision. He waits for holes to develop and that extra half-second or so to. find an opening. He does have some speed on him, though not at the level of one Jonathan Taylor yet, per se. However, he’s excelling at such an early age — he should be a high school senior, remember. As seen with his 33-yard touchdown run against Northwestern last week, defenders just can’t attempt to arm tackle him, or else they become human pinball bumpers with the back bouncing off of them.”
Is quarterback Graham Mertz the solution long-term? How have they been in a position to settle him down this season?
“I think he is. It’s been a roller coaster in terms of results since he became Wisconsin’s QB1 to start the 2020 season, but he’s put together two performances that showed what many thought he could be as a standout, Power Five quarterback.
“Earlier this 12 months, I felt love it was once a “chicken or the egg” state of affairs on the subject of what was once accountable. Was it the offensive line, or Mertz himself in now not making key throws (or heck, possibly one thing else?) that was once inflicting the woes? Of path, the solution’s most likely someplace in the midst of all of it.
“However, the line’s pass protection has improved dramatically in the last six games — giving up only four sacks. That has allowed Mertz to be more comfortable in the pocket. Especially in the last two wins, and you can go back to the Iowa victory as well with his 9-for-10 start against the Hawkeyes, you see him making those consistent progressions and reads and delivering the ball on time with desirable results. He can make every throw you want in this offense and then some. Now it’s starting to come to fruition.”
Wisconsin has but to stand a dual-threat quarterback like Adrian Martinez this season. What issues you about this match-up?
“First and foremost, the fact that the Badgers have had trouble defending him in two previous seasons. He threw for over 200 yards while nearly hitting 100 rushing in Lincoln during the 2019 season. Then as a true freshman a year prior, he got very close to 400 yards through the air.
“You hit it at the head that Wisconsin’s protection has now not observed the caliber of dual-threat quarterback Martinez is but in 2021. UW will wish to drive him into making dangerous throws and errors. The Badgers reasonable 3 sacks in keeping with sport, however they’re going to additionally wish to include him in now not getting free on scrambles. That, and the defensive backs will wish to stay with their assignments and now not let their eye self-discipline falter if a play breaks down.”
Where do you see the Badgers having the biggest area of strength in this game? Besides the Martinez match-up, what else could be looked at as an area of concern?
“I believe Wisconsin can have a bonus in advance. I believe Nebraska’s protection has progressed a great deal, as observed within the tight contests in opposition to ranked warring parties this 12 months. That being stated, I do really feel the Badgers’ line has gelled properly and has asserted itself prior to now half-dozen contests. I additionally really feel the complementary and balanced glance this offense has completed the previous two weeks may stay the Huskers guessing extra. Defensively, it’s going to be fascinating to look at simply how defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard will devise schemes to constrict Martinez’s effectiveness, however the entrance seven has gotten it executed with main the country in rush protection, general protection and third-down conversion protection thru 10 video games.
“On the flip side besides Martinez’s abilities, I’d look at Wisconsin’s defensive backs against Samori Toure and other Nebraska receiving threats. Early in the season, UW gave up some plays through the air to Penn State’s Jahan Dotson, Notre Dame’s talented wideouts and Michigan. It shut down Purdue’s David Bell to six receptions for 33 yards a few weeks back, however. This is a good secondary, so this will be another test for the Badgers — who ranks second in the FBS in passing yards allowed and team passing efficiency defense.”
Finally, what’s your rating prediction and breakdown for Saturdays sport in Madison?
“With it being senior day here in Madison and the game being played in Camp Randall Stadium, I think Wisconsin pulls off the win to continue its path to Indianapolis (so long as penalties and turnovers do not swing the pendulum to Nebraska’s side).
“Martinez and the passing assault will most likely make a few performs, and the quarterback’s mobility shall be one thing to look at. We have observed the protection adapt neatly to the quite a lot of schemes it has confronted. I believe it’s going to bend however now not smash whilst growing a few takeaways within the procedure.
“Offensively, I do feel the Badgers will be able to run the ball, though it may not reach its seasonal average (222.6). The key here is the emerging passing attack and what Mertz and Co. have done through the air the past two weeks. The newly-found complementary nature of the offense will pay dividends.
“I’ll say Wisconsin 30, Nebraska 20 for now.”
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