MADISON — The last time the Wisconsin Badgers took on the Penn State Nittany Lions was 2013, when the Nittany Lions upset the Badgers in a 31-24 victory. Overall, Wisconsin leads the career record with a 9-8 advantage. This time around, the Badgers will be looking to avoid another close loss and will look to add to their record.
To get that win, Wisconsin’s offense will have to be effective. With a Penn State defense on a roll as of late, that task will be a tall order. One of the players looking to break through Penn State’s defense will be Corey Clement.
“I’m very familiar with him, very good back, been very successful,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said of Clement. “Again I believe a lot of times in football we look at other positions, but it starts up front.”
And as Wisconsin’s offensive line tries to get it going this Saturday they will be facing a stout defense, much better than the likes of Illinois and Purdue. But there could be daylight in the run game. On the season, Penn State has given up 1755 rush yards allowing 146.2 a game to go along with 18 rushing touchdowns.
But in their last game against Michigan State, the Nittany Lions only allowed 109 yards and an average of 2.6 yards per carry.
“They’re good, they’re physical. You know Penn State prides themselves on their linebacker play. They got three guys there that are solid,” tight end Troy Fumagalli said. “Their two defenses end, you know, they’re well coached, they’re physical.”
Senior linebacker Brandon Bell has been a stud all season 74 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks. The heart of the defense all season though has been junior defensive end Garrett Sickels.
With 12.5 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks, Sickels will be giving Wisconsin’s offense trouble all game. Evan Schwan, the other defensive end, also has tacked on 7.5 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks.
One of the ways Wisconsin will try to open up the inside will be with the jet sweep play, which has been successful all season.
Penn State has claimed to be prepared to defend that play, but that is just music to Jazz Peavy’s ears, Peavy being the receiver most often carrying the sweep.
“That just shows how well we execute our plays when they’re called,” Peavy said. “So I mean, everyone’s locked into plays like that and you can make big plays with that, you know, it’s something special.”
The jet sweep will also help open up the passing game. Even with Wisconsin unsure of who will start, the fact they have been implementing a two-quarterback system will help keep the offense prepared no matter the health of quarterback Alex Hornibrook.
Bart Houston has basically split time at quarterback in the last few games, taking over full time against Minnesota when Hornibrook went out with a head injury.
Wisconsin will look to continue it’s surprising season on Saturday in the Big Ten championship at 8:00pm CST.