The Wisconsin Badgers (3-2) will be hosting the No.19 Northwestern Wildcats (4-1) this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. local time on ABC. This Saturday’s Big Ten game of the week could ultimately determine which of these teams is second best behind the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Northwestern lost it’s Big Ten opener last Saturday in a disappointing 30-40 finish at home to the Buckeyes. The Badgers also were handed their first loss in conference play to Ohio State two weekends ago. Both teams will be entering Saturday’s game off losses and with something to prove.
Wisconsin will be coming off their much-needed bye week where the team was able to get healthy again. Tight end Jacob Pedersen (knee) and wide receiver Kenzel Doe (hamstring) will both be returning back to the starting lineup.
Even better news for Wisconsin football: Melvin Gordon was able to rest and recover from a knee injury he suffered in the Ohio State game. He has been averaging a conference-best 139.6 yards a game and against a defense that has been giving up 144 yards a game, Gordon will have the Wildcats starring at the back of his jersey all day long. The Badgers’ run game should open up the passing game for Joel Stave and company, so look for receiver Jerrod Abbrederis to have another monster game as well.
The Badgers’ defense may have benefited from the bye week the most. They have had two weeks now to study film and prepare a defensive strategy to try and slow down Northwestern’s 2-quarterback explosive offense. Expect senior inside linebacker Chris Borland to continue being a tackling machine and causing havoc in the Wildcats backfield. What may determine the result of this game will land on the shoulders of Wisconsin’s young secondary. Freshman corner back, Sojourn Shelton’s individual effort could play a significant impact during the game.
At the end of the day, Wisconsin will come out on top and solidify themselves as the second best team in the Big Ten.