MADISON — Missed opportunities have characterized the Wisconsin offense throughout the season. They can be attributed to reasons why Wisconsin has two losses. But going into a matchup with Nebraska, Wisconsin’s offense will look to turn that trend around.
“Everybody knows we have to be more efficient when we get into the redzone,” fullback Austin Ramesh said. “Last week obviously we had some good drives stopped short, but I don’t think we go about it any other way than we do every other week.”
Instead of changing their system, Wisconsin is putting its nose to the grindstone and is going to try and make the current system work.
For Ramesh, it is all about getting the blocks and leading the way for starting running back Corey Clement.
“I’d say my biggest part is being on the goal line and kind of getting those blocks we need to get whoever may be running the ball into the endzone.”
On Nebraska’s defense, defensive end Ross Dzuris will be trying to blow up the run and pressure the quarterback, trying to thwart any goal line opportunities that Wisconsin may have. With eight tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks, Dzuris leads the Cornhuskers in both categories.
Safety Nathan Gerry will also be flying down from his position to make some stops in the run as he is second on the Cornhuskers with seven tackles for loss.
Another name to watch on the Nebraska defense is linebacker Josh Banderas. He is tied for second on the team with 43 total tackles. Banderas will surely be heavily involved in stopping the Wisconsin offense.
In the passing game, involvement by the freshmen receivers Quintez Cephus and A.J. Taylor has slowly increased.
“I feel like, especially playing time early is always good, getting out there and having some experience,”senior wide out Rob Wheelwright said. “Next year those guys will have to fit in and be able to play a lot more. I feel like it’s good to get out there and figure out your role.”
For their part, Wheelwright knows the passing game can also improve in the red zone because you need all 11 players to be accountable on every play.
“Being accountable and being able to make those plays cause we do need to make those touchdowns in the red zone and that’s something coach has been talking about improving as a offense,” Wheelwright said.
In Nebraska’s secondary, Wheelwright sees playmakers and guys who are going to be athletic and push against the Wisconsin offense.
“It just really depends on their game plan. If they wanna be physical or if they wanna be less physical and let us make plays. But just from watching plays, they are not as physical,” Wheelwright said. “But they do make a lot of plays and I think they have tons of interceptions this season.”
Nebraska is currently tied for sixth in the nation with 13 interceptions, four of them coming in just the last two games.
Safety Kieron Williams leads the way with four interceptions and also leads the team in solo tackles with 30. Williams will probably be the player to watch on Nebraska’s defense as they try and shut down Wisconsin’s passing game.
No matter what though, Wisconsin is coming out and expecting another brutal fight to the final seconds against another top ranked Big Ten opponent.
“It’s a Big Ten opponent so can’t go in there thinking it’s going to be anything other than it’s going to be a fight the whole game,” Ramesh said. “Like I said before, we kind of approach it the same every week whether we are playing Ohio State, Nebraska, who ever we are playing. You know it’s going to be a fist fight the whole game.”
Wisconsin and Nebraska will kick off on Saturday at 6:00pm CT at Camp Randall.