October 3, 2008
Five things to watch Saturday night
MADISON, Wis. - With UW's showdown with the Buckeye's only a matter of hours away, the Badgers seem set for the challenge. Overall, the cardinal and white have not lost a night game since head coach Bret Bielema has been on staff. If they hope to keep that, and their 16 game home winning streak going, the Badgers will need to learn from last weekend's mistakes:
The following are five things to watch during Saturday night's contest:
1.) Badgers number one "Pryor"ity:
In short, Terrelle Pryor has started his college football career about as well as anyone could have expected. The true freshman is a legitimate, established, and daunting playmaker that opposing defenses have had much trouble slowing down.
In fact, Pryor's 292 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns are good enough to lead the team. Sure, Chris Wells has been hurt and would probably be leading that category if he played throughout the early stages of the season, but Pryor's duel threat capabilities are very difficult to slow down.
It will be interesting to see how the Badgers approach both Wells and Pryor's talents in the OSU backfield. One would think forcing Pryor to throw the ball would be UW's best chance to correct their season.
2.) All's "Wells" that ends well:
While Beanie Wells claims his foot injury is about 75 percent healthy, the Badgers won't buy into that talk.
"Beanie, watching film, he looked healthy to me against Minnesota," middle linebacker Jaevery McFadden said. "So I aint' trying to heal all that other stuff, assuming he's healthy or whatever."
In his first full game in 2008, Wells rushed for 106 yards on only 14 carries. Then, looking back at last season's UW-OSU match up, Wells rolled for 166 yards and three touchdowns in the Buckeye's fourth quarter eruption to put away UW 38-21. Needless to say, stopping Beanie is virtually impossible. The Badgers, in order to win, will at least need to slow him down.
"Beanie, he's a real big back, physical back, that got nice feet like a dancing bear or something," McFadden said. "I haven't seen feet like that on a guy in a while. He really got nice feet, I respect the dude a lot."
3.) Up"Hill" battle:
Junior running back P.J. Hill has never played against the Buckeyes. Granted the Buckeyes have only been on the Badger schedule one time through his career, but an injury suffered the week before prevented Hill from playing in 2007.
Surely Ohio State knows a good amount of P.J. Hill and his running style, but preparing for him and playing against him are two separate entities.
"Yeah, I'm very excited about that game because I didn't get the chance to play against that team," Hill said. "But now, I'm feeling healthy and I'm going to prepare myself this week and get ready to play."
A solid performance from Hill out of the backfield will give the Badgers a great chance to beat the Buckeyes.
4.) Aerial attack:
A week ago, at Michigan Stadium, the Badger receivers struggle, to say the least. What happened to the UW receivers against the Wolverines should not have happened. When quarterback Allan Evridge delivers the ball to hit the receiver's hands, it is only the receiver's responsibility to haul it in for the gain.
Look for the Badger receivers to be more focused with hopes of bouncing back from their nightmare in Ann Arbor. It would not be too far fetched to see the Badgers come out throwing the ball in an attempt to not only regain the wide outs swagger, but also open the running game for the backs.
5.) Under the lights:
For the UW football team, there is something about playing under the lights that gets them amped up for big games. They did it five years ago, upsetting Ohio State 17-10 at night in Camp Randall and have won 11 straight night games to go along with their current streak.
"To play in Camp Randall, you know, it can't be matched," fullback Chris Pressley said earlier in the week. "But at the same time we come out here, we got to come out excited (and) come out ready to play."
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