On paper, this should be the toughest test for the Wisconsin Badgers. But with how bad they struggled with patsy San Jose State, you never know how things are gonna shake out. At 2:30 Saturday, Bucky will play host to Dennis Erickson and the 2-0 Arizona State Sun Devils.
To give you an idea of how fast the Sun Devils play on offense, consider this stat: In seven scoring drives in last weeks win against Northern Arizona, the Sun Devil offense averaged just 1:07 in time of possession. I know it’s only Northern Arizona, but those numbers are ridiculous.
The Sun Devils are led by a name the Badgers are all too familiar with: quarterback Steven Threet. If you don’t recall because you’ve already put that ugly game out of your memory, Threet is the former Michigan quarterback who lead the Wolverines to a 27-25 come-from-behind victory against the Badgers in 2008. In that contest the Badgers took at 19-0 lead into the half only to see their lead, and the game slowly slip away. Now a redshirt junior, Threet has completed 67% of his passes for 630 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions on the young season.
Wisconsin will also have to keep tabs on ASU’s two play-makers, receiver Mike Willie and running back Cameron Marshall who is averaging 9.4 yards per carry. The Sun Devils would love to get 80 snaps on Saturday afternoon, and if they do, their offense can keep them in the game.
It’s a little more traditional on the other side of the football for Arizona State. In 2009, they ranked 26th nationally in total points and 13th in total yardage at just under 300 per game. The Sun Devils stud is sophomore middle linebacker Vontaze Burflict, who plays fast but also plays undisciplined. A year ago, Burflict was named the Pac 10 freshman defensive player of the year. One more weapon is kicker Thomas Weber who missed a significant chunk of time last year but was the 2007 Lou Groza award winner.
It has been noted the Badgers have struggled to avoid costly mistakes and turnovers in their first two games of the 2010 season. On offense, it may not get any easier as they may be without as many as three starters. Recievers Nick Toon and David Gilreath have not practiced and will likely miss this weeks contest. Toon is still nursing the turf toe injury he suffered in the opener and Gilreath has not recovered from the concussion he recieved from the vicious hit he took last week. Also absent from practice has been tackle Josh Oglesby. Look for Ricky Wagner to get the majority of the snaps at right tackle if Oglesby isn’t cleared by medical staff.
My keys to the game focus on the miscue’s and the Badgers ability to execute in the red-zone. Through two games the Badgers are just 4 of 7 inside the 20, with only three touchdowns. Also a big factor will be keeping the Sun Devil offense off the field. The Badgers have averaged over 35 minutes in time of possession. Look for them to grind it out and wear down the Sun Devil defense throughout the game.
My Prediction: Wisconsin 37 Arizona State 20
About the Author
Written by Chad Seely
Hey sports fans! Welcome to my Wisconsin Badgers football blog. For any Badger scores, news or questions you may have, come check out this blog! For those who don't know me, I'm a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. I graduated in May 2009 with a Broadcast Journalism degree and returned in Fall 2009 to get a Minor in Multimedia which I completed in May 2010. In the summer, you can catch me on AM1230 WSBB, splitting time as the play-by-play announcer and color commentator for the Daytona Cubs, the Advanced-A Affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.