After four weeks on the college football season, there is an extremely important Big Ten game between Northwestern and Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s season started with extremely high expectations. The Badgers were in the preseason top ten according to the AP poll. Currently, the Badgers are ranked tenth in the country and boast an undefeated record. Meanwhile, the Northwestern Wildcats are currently 2-1 and are looking for a huge win to potentially put them in the top 25.
Wisconsin’s success so far this season is due, in large part, to sophomore quarterback Alex Hornibrook. Through three games this season, Hornibrook has eight touchdowns and only one interception. Last season, Hornibrook was thrown under the fire and became the starter of the Badgers mid-season after he subbed in for quarterback Bart Houston. Horninbrook experienced some growing pains last season and it looks like that experience has helped him over the course of this season.
Hornibrook’s success has also been due to the offensive balance within this Badgers offensive system. Freshman running back Jonathan Taylor has looked amazing this season with 438 yards rushing and five rushing touchdowns. Taylor entered the season behind both Bradrick Shaw and Chris James on the depth chart but became the undisputed starter after his amazing 223 yard performance against Florida Atlantic. Taylor’s success has set up the play action pass for Hornibrook which is a huge reason for his success.
The Northwestern Wildcats entered the season with hopes of building on last year’s success. Last season, the Wildcats made a bowl game and defeated Pittsburgh in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. This season, Northwestern was expected to have a solid year and return to another bowl game. However, Northwestern suffered an embarrassing defeat against Duke in the second week of the season which might have hurt their bowl game chances. Still, the Wildcats are currently 2-1 and a victory against the Badgers would be a season-changing victory.
Northwestern’s success is due to senior running back Justin Jackson. Jackson has had over 11oo yards rushing in every season of his college career and is currently averaging 4.5 yards per carry this season. In the bowl game last season, Jackson had three touchdowns and over 200 yards rushing. In order to pull off the upset, Jackson will have to have a big game and will have to move the chains to help keep the Badger offense off the field.
As for my prediction, I think the Badgers win this game by double digits. Wisconsin has great balance on offense and will use it to keep the Northwestern defense off balance. Northwestern will also struggle due to a lack of playmakers in the passing game. Although Jackson is a great running back, I expect Wisconsin to stack the box and force Northwestern to beat them through the air which they will be unable to do.
Northwestern vs. Wisconsin: Game Time, TV Channel & Viewing Details
Event: Northwestern vs. Wisconsin
Date: Saturday, September 30, 2017
Start Time: 12:00 P.M. EST
Location: Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, WI
How To Watch Northwestern vs. Wisconsin Online & Mobile
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