After picking Notre Dame two weeks in a row in the Big Ten Game of the Week, I shift gears to another set of foes that will match up in Husker territory.
This week, I pick the game of the week for Week Five.
Week Five: Wisconsin vs. Nebraska 8 p.m. ABC
Wisconsin will win if they…
Run the football and stop Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead. Montee Ball, along with James White, who many tend to forget about, are a one-two punch that give the Badgers power and speed in the backfield. It will be imperative head coach Bret Bielema gets White involved early in the season to give Wisconsin a change of pace type back. Defensively, the Badgers will need to shut down Burkhead in the backfield and get pressure on quarterback Taylor Martinez. Many question whether Martinez has what it takes to be a true passer and Wisconsin will look to create turnovers when getting after him. Defensive back Devin Smith is back after missing most of last season with an leg injury and he’ll play a large roll in shutting down the Huskers receivers.
Nebraska will win if they…
Get the lead early and shut down Montee Ball. It’s going to a night game in Husker country and Nebraska could be 4-0 before kickoff. The crowd will be electric for their first Big Ten game of the season and it will be Badgers new quarterback Danny O’Brien‘s first taste of conference play. Getting the lead on the former B1G Champs will play in the Huskers favor and give them the jolt they need at home. Nebraska’s defense has some holes to fill with several starters leaving for the NFL. Montee Ball is going to get his behind that massive Wisconsin offensive line, but if the Huskers can contain him and play solid in the secondary, they’ll give themselves a chance at pulling the upset.
Prediction: Nebraska pulls the upset by 10
It’s going to be both teams first Big Ten game of the year and Wisconsin transfer quarterback Danny O’Brien’s first ever. The crowd is going to be special and ESPN College GameDay could be in the house. This might be the game where Nebraska finally turns the corner in the Big Ten and gets back to their winning ways from almost a decade ago. Rex Burkhead will get his yards on the ground and Taylor Martinez will do just enough to get the job done. The Huskers need a few big special teams plays to go in their favor and that will keep the lead till the final second ticks off the clock.
I’m a Wisconsin fan folks, this one hurts.
Will Wilson is a writer for Rant Sports covering College Football and the Big Ten Conference.