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Getting to know Wisconsin: Well-coached but underachieving

Lots of respect must be given to Wisconsin, but they’re underachieving right now

Wisconsin v Purdue Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Name recognition is a big deal in life, and the same can be said for college football programs.

The Wisconsin Badgers have been a consistent team for over two decades. The teams aren’t usually flashy, but they’ve become one of the best teams in the nation developing running backs and stout offensive linemen. They play tough, physical, fundamentally sound football.

Head coach Paul Chryst has kept this trend moving right along, with an overall record of 38-8 as coach of Wisconsin with wins in the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl.

But what about the 2018 Badgers? Well, this team has actually underachieved to this point. Wisconsin not only lost to BYU 24-21 in surprising fashion, but they’ve looked vulnerable at various positions this season.

2018 Team Statistics

  • Total Defense- 41st
  • Passing Yards Allowed- 54th
  • Interceptions- 66th
  • Rushing Defense- 42nd
  • Total Offense- 25th
  • Passing Offense- 101st
  • Rushing Offense- 4th
  • Scoring Offense- 45th
  • 3rd Down Conversion Pct- 18th
  • 3rd Down Conversion Pct Defense- 64th
  • Red Zone Offense- 14th
  • Red Zone Defense- 26th
  • Team Sacks- 118
  • Team Tackles For Loss- 102nd

The players

- RB Jonathon Taylor is the key for Wisconsin. If Taylor can keep moving the chains and wearing the Michigan defense down, the game will become a lot tougher for the Wolverines. Taylor currently has 849 yards rushing (No. 3 in FBS) and 8 touchdowns.

- QB Alex Hornibrook has been limiting his interceptions and throwing with accuracy more often than not with a 7:2 TD to INT ratio and a 64% completion percentage. Hornibrook has a knack for coming through in the clutch on third down, it’ll be important for Michigan to get him off the field. It is worth noting that Hornibrook three 15 interceptions in 2017, could old habits resurface? If Taylor can’t gain any traction running, Hornibrook may be forced to make some throws he otherwise wouldn’t attempt.

- LB T.J. Edwards will be blitzing Shea Patterson early and often. Wisconsin’s best player on defense 26 total tackles, 5.5 for loss, two sacks, and an interception.

What they are saying

What’s going to happen?

History would indicate this is going to be a tough and close game. But if you want to look solely at team statistics and not focus on the team name, Wisconsin hasn’t been much better than Northwestern and Maryland in a lot of categories, in some categories they are worse. Wisconsin may end up playing lights out on defense against Michigan, but as it stands now it’s fair to say they might not be able to limit UM’s rushing attack or put much pressure on Shea Patterson.

However, maybe this is the week they turn things around and start playing cohesively all around.

The major outlier here is how big of a game this is. Both teams can’t afford another loss this season, it’s a night game on ABC, and weird things can happen.

Chryst will have the Badgers prepared to do battle.

This will be a great test for Michigan’s defense, facing a team who has a quarterback that can get things done and a running back that will surely finish the season ranked in the top ten for rushing yards. If Michigan can suffocate the duo of Hornibrook and Taylor, they will be victorious.

We’re about to see what this Michigan team is made of. The offensive nor the defensive unit can afford to have a slow start in this one. Digging oneself out of a hole isn’t fun.

What do you think will happen when Michigan takes on Wisconsin?