Three games remain for the No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers (8-1, 4-1) as their hopes for a Rose Bowl berth are alive and well heading into this weeks matchup with the Indiana Hoosiers (4-5, 0-5). The Badgers return to the friendly confines of Camp Randall Stadium for the first time since they shocked the nation defeating then No. 1, Ohio State.
Bucky is banged up on offense but are as healthy on the other side of the ball as they have been in quite some time. And they’ll need all the bodies they have to attack Hoosier quarterback Ben Chappell and the high-powered Indiana air attack. Chappell, a senior, is the unquestioned leader on the field as he leads the Big Ten in passing. Completing nearly 64 percent of his throws, Chappell has thrown for over 2,600 yards to go along with 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions. As successful as their passing game is, the running game is just as dreadful. Dead last in the Big Ten, Indiana manages only 97 yards per game on the ground. Only 11 other teams in the nation average below 100 yards per game.
Considering the Hoosiers throw the ball 43 times per game, they are gonna have some top receiving threats. Included in the group are Chappell’s top targets, Demarlo Belcher and Tandon Doss. Belcher is having an outstanding year but will not forget the Iowa game last week for a long, long time. With Indiana trailing 18-13 and driving in Iowa territory late, Chappell spotted an open Belcher in the endzone but the reciever dropped the game-winning touchdown on fourth down. Iowa escaped and kept their Big Ten hopes alive and Indiana lost their fifth Big Ten game in a row.
Belcher leads the way with 65 catches for 706 yards to go along with four scores. Doss is second on the team with 47 grabs for 550 yards and two touchdowns. Look for tight end Ted Bolser when the Hoosiers are in the redzone. Bolser leads Indiana with five touchdown receptions.
Indiana’s offense isn’t getting any help from the defense as they give up over 28 points per game. The Hoosiers give up 390 yards a game, 166 on the ground and 224 through the air. So, despite the possibility of John Clay not playing, the Badgers should still be able to move the football with relative ease. The two leaders on defense are senior linebacker Tyler Replogle and senior safety Mitchell Evans. Replogle leads the team with 62 tackles after having 80 last year. Evans is an interesting athlete to say the least. Along with totaling 50 tackles and three interceptions on the year, Evans also has lined up on the offensive side of the ball at receiver and at quarterback out of the wildcat formation.
This is a game the Badgers handle with ease but nothing is a given in the Big Ten. Big Red struggled on the road last year against the Hoosiers, escaping with a three point victory. However, this years Badgers squad is battled tested and shouldn’t have a let down. It certainly would be nice to get a comfortable second-half lead going and let some backups get some playing time. Keeping guys healthy for Michigan and Northwestern to close out the regular season will be very important in the upcoming weeks.
My prediction: Wisconsin 45 Indiana 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.