Four Things to Watch: Penn State vs. Wisconsin
It all comes down to this for Wisconsin Badgers. They can take home their third Big Ten conference title with a trip to Rose Bowl at the very worst in their sights. By the time of this game, Wisconsin will not know the realistic nature of having an opportunity to play in College Football Playoff. Badgers and Nittany Lions both have a shot, but the flame isn’t very strong with either team.
Stopping Saquon Barkley
Wisconsin will face one of the best running backs in college football with Saquon Barkley. He’s so good. An explosive runner who can do it all for Penn State. Barkley has been known to bust loose for big runs his entire career. They’re a little different, but don’t be stunned if NFL Draft experts compare him to Zeke. Hell, he would look good in Green and Gold next Fall. Barkley did limp off with a leg injury against Michigan State. If he isn’t 80 percent or better, that really hurts Penn State’s chances in this one.
Corey Clement continued second half push
Badgers were to give out MVP’s of the season, Corey Clement would earn the second half honors. We talk every week how Clement has been great for this team, and the impact that he and the running backs can make is all world. Clement and Bradrick Shaw should have a few chances to break it big on this Penn State defense. They aren’t the best, but certainly, they aren’t scrubs either. Nittany Lions aren’t deep so if Wisconsin can wear them down through the first three quarters, they could have another fourth quarter push like last week.
Badgers pass rush versus young O-Line
Another thing about Penn State is they are very young. Nittany Lions could be back here next year. That young offensive line has done wonders for Trace McSorley all year, but this Badgers pass rush is a different animal. If they get to McSorley early, it could create some happy feet in the pocket. Watch for Justin Wilcox to send stunts and blitzes early on in this game. Wisconsin’s front seven can overwhelm any offensive line especially one that’s a little wet behind the ears.
Bart Houston’s big day
My guess is Alex Hornibrook will sit with a concussion meaning it’s Bart Houston or die. Houston had some moments in the last few weeks, and I made the argument the team was better with Houston at the quarterback position. He will get his time to shine versus a good Penn State defense. Houston should be able to find his favorite targets – Troy Fumagali and Jazz Peavy throughout the game.
Wisconsin wins this one in a really fun, hard-fought game. Badgers defense will once again be the difference here. Penn State’s youth will get to them early letting Wisconsin jump out to an early lead. Penn State will claw back and make this game by the fourth, yet, it’s too much as Badgers wear down Penn State’s defense leading to an added score. WISC 24-16