After watching the efficiency and explosiveness of Wisconsin’s offense against UNLV last Thursday, it would seem almost foolish to think they would do anything less against Oregon State on Saturday. And, although the Beavers’ defense should put up a little more of a fight than UNLV, they have their share of problems, as well. After all, they just allowed 29 points and 367 yards in their stunning loss to FCS Sacramento State last week. Russell Wilson and company should have no problem putting up some big numbers once again.
Defensively, Wisconsin will be looking to improve on their performance from last week. Although allowing 17 points and almost 300 yards to UNLV isn’t terrible, it did come against an offense that is not supposed to be very good—even in the Mountain West. The Beavers have some formidable weapons in quarterback Ryan Katz (despite the fact he was benched last week), freshman running back Malcolm Agnew and wide receiver Markus Wheaton. If the Badgers can shut down this offense, it will definitely be a good sign following a somewhat uneasy performance against the Rebels.
Prediction: Wisconsin 41, Oregon State 21
Mmmyesh, I agree on most points, Sam. I will however, add this: I predict we will see two defensive units step into Camp Randall with something to prove. Oregon State comes in after losing to an FCS team. I repreat, an FCS team. The only other BCS team to lose to an FCS last week was the perennial football juggernaut Duke–not a good football team to be grouped with, Beavers. But even in the loss last week, Oregon State scored enough and was offensively impressive enough to have won their match vs Sacramento State, but the defense ultimately lead to the Beaver’s overtime loss. Look for the Beavers to come out fired up and ready to prove themselves against the Badgers.
On the flip side, the Badger defense was labeled as the one “sour spot” in an otherwise squeaky clean performance in the opener vs UNLV. And don’t think for a minute that they didn’t hear any of the criticism. Borland, Nzegwu, and company will come out in punishing fashion on Saturday. Do I think they’ll give up a couple big plays? Yes, I do. I think the Beavers have too much speed and talent to not catch a few breaks as the Badgers continue to look for their defensive “groove”. But ultimately I think the Badgers stymie the Beavers and work the bend-but-don’t-break defense to perfection.
Overall, this is a close game in the first half as the Beavers come out with something to prove on defense and their pesky offense runs with the Badgers over the first two quarters. However, I look for the Badgers to pull away in the second half and grind the Beavers into submission, ultimately winning in a lopsided fashion. Wilson, Ball, White and Toon are just too talented to be held down for very long against a sub-par Pac-12 defense.
Prediction: Wisconsin 38, Oregon State 14