Friday, September 26, 2008

Wisconsin Preview

Wisconsin is 3-0, as usual. Unlike most years, Wiscy did schedule a nominally difficult presason game against Fresno State. On the road.

While Fresno may not be the BCS buster many that claimed heading into that game, it was a big test. Wisconsin passed 13-10. I watched a good deal of that game, and it was competitive though it probably should not have been as close as it was, especially since the homer refs really piled it on for the home team. Don't discount the significance of that win, the Bulldogs were jacked, the fans were rabid, the WAC refs were pulling hard for the home team, in a game on national television, on a weeknight at 10:30 edt. All of that in the single biggest game that Fresno State has ever played at home (possibly ever, ever).

Wisconsin's remaining schedule is typical Badger fare, beating Akron 38-17 and Marshall 51-14. As you probably already know, they had last weekend off. What, if anything, can we learn from the Fresno game?

Fresno rushed for about 200 yards against Rutgers and Toledo in 24-7 and 55-54 wins. Wisconsin held Fresno to 118 yards on 33 carries for a 3.5 yard average. Fresno veraged 5.3 per rush against Rutgers. 5.0 per rush against Toledo. That is significant. Wiscy also held Akron to 70 yards on 22 rushes. And 29 rushes for 75 yards by Marshall. All in all, expect a stout run defense, and a significant number of bubbles and short passes to the short fast guys.

Wisconsin's offense is . . . . Wisconsin's offense: Large thundering cheese curds in front of lumbering sausage. We've seen it before, and we'll see it this year, and again and again . . .

Michigan will have to pass to move the ball. Steven Threet has looked good, and has been officially graced with the starting role. If he can pass as well as he did against Notre Dame, the game should be competetive; provided Michigan doesn't turn the ball over 6 times, or fumble twice inside of its own 20!