The Maryland football team still is searching for their first Big Ten victory and the Terrapins return home to take on Wisconsin.
For the second consecutive week, Maryland will face one of the top teams in the West Division. The Badgers are coming off an impressive 48-10 win over Rutgers this past weekend.
If you missed the first Q&A session about big picture topics involving Wisconsin, click here.
For a more in-depth look at Wisconsin, we caught up with Jim Oxley, who is the editor over at FanSided’s Wisconsin site Badger Of Honor. We asked Jim five pregame questions about the Badgers.
Take a look at our Q&A session below:
TS: Maryland’s ground attack has drastically improved with Perry Hills under center. How will Wisconsin do against the run?
BOH: The run defense is Wisconsin’s bread and butter. The Badgers have given up more than 100 rushing yards just three times this season, and their 95.7 yards per game allowed is buoyed by a 238-yard performance from Alabama in the season opener. Wisconsin heads into Saturday’s game off three straight sub-90 yard performances, including back-to-back games against Purdue and Illinois where Wisconsin gave up just 55 yards each. The Badgers have a couple injuries in their front seven, but the run defense will be solid.
TS: Maryland is one of the best teams in the Big Ten in getting to the quarterback. Will Wisconsin’s offensive line be up to the challenge?
BOH: I say this is Maryland’s best chance to disrupt the Badgers on Saturday. Most of the points that have been scored on Wisconsin this season have come from short fields directly related to turnovers. Getting pressure on Joel Stave is probably the best way to force a Wisconsin turnover. The Badgers have a very young offensive line with multiple redshirt freshmen starting. The group has also been mixed and matched through injuries, so there are certainly opportunities to cause some havoc. I think the Terps will definitely mess up some Wisconsin drives with pressure to the quarterback.
TS: Wisconsin has the second best defense in the conference. Maryland has thrown 23 interceptions this season. Do the Badgers feast on Hills and the Terps?
BOH: There’ no doubt Wisconsin has checked the box scores and seen that 20-plus number, and for a Badgers secondary with only six interceptions among three players so far this season, Wisconsin will be looking for more. For the Badgers it starts with quarterback pressure, and Wisconsin has been able to get to the quarterback with ease. Joe Schobert alone has 12 quarterback hits and 9.5 sacks, and the Badgers as a team have 31 quarterback hits and 21 sacks. The Badgers should be able to help out the offense and force a few takeaways on defense.
TS: The Badgers have been hampered by injuries this season. Any to keep an eye on this weekend?
BOH: There’s almost too many to count on offense alone. The Badgers have lost starting center Dan Voltz for the season. He was one of the best in the country at what he does. The Badgers are also without tight end Austin Traylor and wide receiver Robert Wheelwright, who have over 500 receiving yards and seven touchdowns between them. It’s looking more and more likely running back Taiwan Deal doesn’t return this week, but with Corey Clement back that’s not as big of a concern anymore. On defense, the Badgers will likely be without true freshman inside linebacker Chris Orr once again. He missed last week, but Jack Cichy stepped in and played well. The Badgers will also likely get nose guard Arthur Goldberg back after he sat out the Rutgers game.
TS: What’s your prediction for the game?
BOH: The Badgers built up a head of steam in a 48-10 win last week against Rutgers and really had an electricity surrounding the offense with the return of Corey Clement. I think they continue that trend this week. Clement should be another week stronger, the Badgers have had one more game to solidify after their recent injuries, and the defense should be riding high after only allowing a field goal last week (Rutgers touchdown was a pick-six). Wisconsin’s resurgent rushing game will be an added security blanket for Stave, and the defense scores this week.
Wisconsin 34, Maryland 13