SnoTapWI Badgers Preview: Wisconsin vs. Northwestern
Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois played host to some of the worst losses in recent Badgers history. Wisconsin seems to play the worst possible game versus the Wildcats. They did win here two years ago, but that was their first win at Ryan Field in some time. The place is a terrordome for Wisconsin, so, it fitting that Wisconsin heads there the week where everyone celebrates Halloween. You can say ‘What happened years ago doesn’t matter!’ and while I agree with you, there are some demons that lurk in this small stadium with the high grass. Bad things always tend to happen here, and Wisconsin might not be fully healthy.
Badgers walk in wounded
Three of Wisconsin stars might not play in this game. Alex Hornibrook, Olive Spagnolo and D’Cota Dixon could all miss Saturday’s game with injuries. All three are massive to the success of the Badgers. If Hornibrook cannot go, it’s Jake Coan’s team for the afternoon. That would be a major spot for the young quarterback who has zero experience leading a team. Could Coan ‘Wally Pipp’ Hornibrook? It’s possible. Spagnolo being out would open the running lanes a bit for Northwestern. Dixon battled injuries all year, and Wisconsin is probably most prepared if he’s missing in action.
Northwestern plays up to their opponent
Looking at the Wildcats this year, it stood out to me that they only beat Rutgers and Nebraska by a combined six points. But they’ve played Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue very tough. Winning two of those three games, and the Wildcats led versus Michigan, 17-0, before turtling in the second half. Northwestern knows that if they win this game, they control their destiny for the chance to play in the Big Ten Championship for the first time ever. That would be an amazing opportunity for them.
Badgers running attack at full tilt
Even with the tall grass, Badgers running game looks powerful of late. Wisconsin rushed for over 300 yards in their game versus Illinois with two hundred yard rushers. They’re going to need that same sort of effort versus Northwestern. Taylor continued to be one of the most consistent backs in football. He routinely gets 100 yards without even trying.
This is a tough one to make with Wisconsin’s injuries, but I’m taking the Badgers, 20-14. Northwestern likes these slugfest games, and Wisconsin will play into that a little bit. They have enough to pull it out though. It will not be easy for Big Red.