Wisconsin vs Rutgers Preview

Wisconsin vs Rutgers Preview
Spread the love

Wisconsin vs Rutgers Preview

What: #21 Wisconsin at Rutgers

When: Saturday, November 6th, 2:30 pm

Network: BTN

The Wisconsin Badgers come into the month of November playing their best football of the season. A lethal rushing duo, a stout defense, and two pivotal wins will do that for head coach Paul Chryst. Entering play, the Badgers make their triumphant return to the Top 25, finding themselves at #21 after this week’s initial College Football Playoff rankings. On the back of those key wins vs ranked opponents in Purdue and Iowa, the Badgers are looking to continue their roll in New Jersey against a rising Rutgers program. The Scarlet Knights led by coach Greg Schiano come into Saturday 4-4, but have played in a plethora of close games, including at the Big House vs now #7 Michigan.

How They Got Here

For its standards this season, the offense has seen a resurgence. Behind a recharged rushing game led by Chez Mellusi and standout true freshman Braelon Allen, the Badgers find themselves reemerging as Big Ten West favorites once again. Graham Mertz showed flashes in the first half vs Iowa giving the Badgers a balanced attack. With that being said, how could one neglect to mention one of the best units in the nation?  The Defense.

Jim Leonhard has potentially one of his best units in now his sixth season as defensive coordinator. Standout inside linebacker Leo Chenal continues to not just impress, but dominate. In just six games, the junior leads the team in tackles, tackles for loss, and forced fumbles. He’s one of the best linebackers in the nation and he is getting the attention he deserves. The only category he doesn’t lead is in sacks, which belongs to rising sophomore Nick Herbig, whose continued ascension gives the Badgers a legitimate edge rusher to complete this vaunted front seven. Moreover, this defense now faces a Rutgers offense that has scored 20 points just once in the last seven weeks.

As previously stated, Rutgers enters the contest at .500 through eight games. Making a bowl game is now an attainable goal for them, a massive step in the right direction for this program. That being said, they’re still looking for that signature win. Knocking Wisconsin off here would do the trick.

What To Watch For

Wisconsin

Look for Wisconsin to try and do what they’ve attempted to impose all season. The ground game. The two-headed monster duo of Allen and Mellusi has proven very effective and will look to stay in control against a middling Rutgers rush defense. Look for the Badgers to also attempt to include Danny Davis III in the game plan. The talented senior receiver has made a highlight-reel-worthy array of catches this season and has a good connection with Mertz. Davis III, Kendric Pryor, Chimire Dike, and Jake Ferguson have provided a solid foundation in the passing game.

Defensively, the Badgers haven’t given up more than 7 points to a Big Ten West offense. Rutgers, whilst in the East, is similar to their western counterparts that lack firepower offensively. The Badger defense should face little trouble for most of the game.

Rutgers

On the flip side, Coach Schiano certainly will have some tricks up his sleeves. While the Scarlet Knights lack physical head-to-head strength upfront, they do make up for it with a few players with a bit of firepower. Wisconsin fans know most notably Aron Cruikshank. The former Badger speedster’s new home under Schiano has showcased even more so his elite speed both on special teams and at receiver. Combine that with the very talented receiver Bo Melton, and Rutgers has a recipe that can challenge the Badger secondary and special teams.

Look for some trickeration to create potential big plays from an otherwise anemic Scarlet Knights offense.

Conclusion

With the Badgers seemingly finding their footing, they will undoubtedly look to keep that going in New Jersey with another solid performance. Winning the Big Ten West, and getting back to Indianapolis is still very much in play. However, lest they be prepared because Rutgers can turn this into a rock fight. They’ve played in their share of close games and will be highly motivated to get that signature victory.

Paul Chryst has never lost to Rutgers in his time at Wisconsin, and none of the games have been relatively close. Expect this one to be a little closer due to the Badgers’ slow, grueling offense. With that being said, the Badgers still win comfortably.

Prediction: Wisconsin 24 Rutgers 7