Four Things To Watch: Western Michigan vs. Wisconsin
Wisconsin Badgers find themselves in a big bowl game for the first time since 2013 Rose Bowl. This is the first big bowl game Wisconsin is participating in that doesn’t involve Pasadena, California for the first time ever. Badgers are familiar with AT&T Stadium as they played here against Alabama to begin the 2015 season. Their opponent, Western Michigan, is a media darling with their undefeated record and their ‘Row The Boat’ bravado. It’s no-win situation for Wisconsin, but they look to go out on a high note.
Shutting down Corey Davis
Wisconsin’s number one priority in this game is holding Corey Davis at bay. That’s a tall task. The senior is a surefire first or second round pick with tons of size. The only team whose done great work against him is Kent State. They shut him down for one catch and 18 yards. The weather was bad, but still, those are alarmingly bad numbers for Davis who had over five catches in all of his other games. Sojurn Shelton played great down the stretch to the point where Penn State ignored throwing at him. My guess is Shelton will shadow Davis for the game.
Corey Clement & ground game look to keep it up
In the final month of the season, Badgers rushing attack has been explosive to say the least. The combination of Corey Clement, Dare Ogbonuwale and Bradrick Shaw were dynamic especially Clement returning to the form that Wisconsin fans saw in the early part of his career. This week revealed that Ogbonuwale played hurt for half of the season with a bad knee. He could have a big day as the third down back. Western Michigan’s defense isn’t daunting, and Clement will have a big day to close out his career.
Badgers defense wants to make a statement
From what you read, Wisconsin’s defense sounds like a group of pissed off hornets. They didn’t like giving up 38 points to Penn State and know what people are saying about Broncos offense. Western Michigan runs a more dramatic spread than what Nittany Lions ran, and Badgers defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox compared them to Ohio State. If you remember, the problem with that offense for Badgers was bringing down J.T. Barrett. That shouldn’t be a problem with Terrell.
Not giving up second-half lead
The second half Badgers have been very unpredictable. They came up in the clutch versus Minnesota and finished off Northwestern on the road. But then there were the Ohio State and Penn State games where Wisconsin lost second half leads. That can’t happen again. Paul Chryst needs to be a little more aggressive with his play calls with a lead.
For a game like this, people would think Badgers team might sleepwalk their way through a MAC opponent. I don’t see it happening. Western Michigan’s high-powered offense has not seen a defense like Badgers. If Broncos have a strong start to the game, this one might be closer than expected, but Badgers force a few turnovers pulling away for an easy win. UW 34-16