Deploy Defensive Star Kayvon Thibodeaux In Creative Ways
Without question, the star for the Ducks on defensive side of the ball is Kayvon Thibodeaux. He has racked up nine sacks and fourteen tackles for loss in 2019. The talented true freshman had his best game in the Pac-12 championship when he was all over the field. Thibodeaux gave Utah nightmares en route to 2.5 sacks, five tackles, and 2.5 tackles for loss.
Wisconsin has had their fair share of trouble against talented pass rushers. In their first matchup against Ohio State, the Badgers could not block Chase Young who went off for four sacks and two forced fumbles. When UW hosted the Iowa Hawkeyes, A.J. Epenesa had some success, though not at the level of Young, one sack and one forced fumble is not bad at all.
If the true freshman can have similar success to his field day against Utah, it can be a long day for Jack Coan who has had a tough time holding onto the ball throughout the year. He has fumbled the ball eight times and lost four of them.
Limit Jonathan Taylor’s YPC To Below 5
Everyone knows what kind of a threat Jonathan Taylor is and how special he is, but it’s nearly impossible to contain or limit JT so you have to break it down to yards per carry. Yards per carry ultimately entails how easy it is for a player to rack up his yardage and whether or not he is able to break off explosive, long runs. Taylor will surely pick up his yardage and numbers but the key is to limit home run plays and make him work for the yards to keep the Wisconsin offense behind schedule and force them to look elsewhere for a start to their drive.
In the five games where Taylor has been held under five yards per carry in 2019, the Badgers have lost twice and although they won and he hit over 100 yards, the offense struggled against Northwestern to get anything going. Also, in three of those games where he was limited, he was held under 100 yards in three of the five games. Overall, the Badgers are just a measly 5-3 when their star tailback is under 100 yards.
It’s no secret that Taylor is the key to the offense for Wisconsin and sets everything in motion but if the Ducks can limit how much success he has every play, they will be well on their way to a rose bowl win.
Stay disciplined on defense
The biggest difference for Wisconsin during the second half of the season has been the implementation of a new offensive approach where they involve their receivers far more and use Aron Cruikshank and Garrett Groshek in the wildcat or zone read. In any case, the Badgers offense has become far more potent due to the influx of these new actions.
Ohio State, much like the big ten west teams down the stretch, could not limit their attack and gave up big plays to Coan on a touchdown run and allowed a number of key conversions to the likes of Kendric Pryor and Danny Davis. The key to taking away this part of the UW offense is to remain discipline when reading the play. If Oregon has success against this part of the Badgers attack, they can continue to force the junior quarterback beat them.
Feed Quintez Cephus
One of the many things Wisconsin did so well to get off to the hot start in the Big Ten championship was go to what worked.
Any time Jack Coan dropped back it seemingly was sure to have gone stud wide receiver Quintez Cephus and, of course, the offense still maintained the healthy dose of Jonathan Taylor. The mix was good for an incredible 21-7 halftime lead.
One of the biggest differences in the second half was just how little Coan and the offense had looked to Cephus. The sudden change of plans to not look his way after throwing his way to the tune of four catches for 85 yards and forcing some penalties as well. was puzzling to say the least. In order to keep their offense firing, Coan and the unit should stick with a healthy dose of Cephus, Taylor and misdirection with the wide receivers.
Let Coan get comfortable
Oregon has an incredible defense. A top ten scoring defense for that matter. But if the group has a weakness, is simply not as strong against the pass. They sit ranked at 59 for passing defense giving up nearly 223 yards per game. The Badgers and signal caller Jack Coan have already faced eight (!) teams with a better defense against the pass.
The junior quarterback has had a great season to this point with his best performance coming against a No.11 ranked Minnesota pass defense in a snow storm. With perfect conditions in sunny California, the Long Island Laser should be set up for success along with UW’s talented group of receivers.
This is a key to any football game but more so with a Wisconsin defense that has struggled to wrap up. Wisconsin had improved late in the season but the issue resurfaced during the second half of the Big Ten title game when the Buckeyes wideouts slipped out of a number of tackles. The issues were front and center when Ohio State converted a 3rd and 7 on a fifty yard completion and when they converted a 3rd and 18 on an underneath throw where the wide receiver was able to make a play.
Much like Wisconsin, Oregon likes to get the ball to their wide receivers early and in space and allow them to do their thing. Leading receiver Johnny Johnson III and second leading receiver, Jaylon Redd are the beneficiaries of this approach. The Ducks offense involves their top receivers on screens and short throws to quickly give them the ball and allow them to make moves. Look for Oregon to do more of the same in the Rose Bowl. It will be important for Wisconsin corners to fight through blocks and attack the Ducks receivers to limit the short actions but also to keep Oregon’s offense in long second and third down.