Football: No. 8 Wisconsin takes on No. 4 Michigan in top 10 showdown

first_imgIn one of the most important games the University of Wisconsin football team will play in years, perhaps there is no better setting than Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.The stadium, dubbed “The Big House,” sets a stage of more than 100,000 fans for the top 10 showdown. Plenty more eyeballs will view from home as the No. 4 Wolverines (4-0) host the No. 8 Badgers (4-0) Saturday on ABC at 2:30 p.m.Football: Biegel to miss 2-4 weeks after surgery to repair fractured bone in footFifth-year senior linebacker Vince Biegel is expected to miss 2-4 weeks after having minor surgery Thursday night to mend a Read…With the fanfare and sheer spectacle of the afternoon awaiting them in “The Big House,” the Badgers will have to tone out the crowd to focus on the game itself. Jazz Peavy — who leads the Badgers in catches (16), receiving yards (274) and receiving touchdowns (two) — and his fellow receiving corps will be tasked with going against one of the most formidable secondaries in the country.Despite losing Jeremy Clark for the season to a torn ACL, Michigan’s All-American Jourdan Lewis plays a lockdown corner for the Wolverines opposite senior Channing Stribling. Of course, the Michigan defense also has has linebacker and safety Jabrill Peppers, one of college football’s most dynamic players. The Wolverines have held their opponents to just a 12 percent conversion rate on third down this season, which ranks first in the country.In the face of those daunting numbers, Peavy refuses to be intimidated.“I think about what we can do,” Peavy said. “I know we can convert third downs, and I know we can make plays. That 12 percent was 12 percent against other teams.”The Badgers were stellar on third down in their win over Michigan State last week, particularly redshirt freshman quarterback Alex Hornibrook, who will make only his second career start Saturday.Football: No. 11 Wisconsin makes statement with 30-6 road victory against No. 8 Michigan StateEAST LANSING, Mich. — For several seconds during the third quarter, University of Wisconsin fifth-year safety Leo Musso felt like Read…Quarterback Wilton Speight commands the Wolverine offensive attack and gets the job done through the air. He has thrown for 875 yards and nine touchdowns with just one interception. Speight has plenty of tall targets too, including 6-foot-6-inch tight end Jake Butt, who is considered the National Football League’s top draft prospect at the position right now. On the other side of the ball, Wisconsin doesn’t have a single member of its secondary taller than 5-foot-11-inches.“No matter who the opponent is, we just have to stay true to ourselves and play our ball,” Watt said. “Smart, tough, dependable football like Wisconsin always does.”It has been nearly six years since Wisconsin and Michigan last played (blame scheduling and conference realignment). In that game, Badger running backs Montee Ball and James White ran all over the Wolverines, J.J. Watt added a pick and UW won 48-28 on Nov. 20, 2010.A lot has happened to both programs since then. Jim Harbaugh and his khakis took over his alma mater’s coaching job after the 2014 season, and Michigan has already experienced a quick turnaround, propelling it back into the upper echelons of college football.Paul Chryst, who has expressed high praise for Harbaugh, took over the head coaching job at Wisconsin a couple weeks earlier. Chryst and Harbaugh’s careers overlapped while both were assistants for the San Diego Chargers under Nebraska’s current head coach Mike Riley.“Jim’s a really good football coach,” Chryst said. “He’s got a really good staff, and obviously, they have good players. He’s done it at San Diego, did at Stanford, had success with the 49ers and now at Michigan.”Chryst’s brother, Geep, served as Harbaugh’s quarterback coach for the San Francisco 49ers for the four seasons Harbaugh was the head coach there.Bumbaca’s Prediction: Michigan 23, Wisconsin 17No one saw last week’s thrashing of Michigan State coming, and yes, I will own up to the fact I picked Sparty to win. Still, the Badgers had trouble running the ball. Hornibrook’s decision-making was questionable at times, and the secondary lacked an edge down the stretch.Also, MSU is much more flawed than the Wolverines. The Badgers will have to take advantage of the mismatch presented between their front-seven and the Wolverine offensive line. If they are able to force the Wolverines into third-and-long situations and maintain a steady pass rush, they will definitely be in this game.I don’t know if they can pull it off, however. It will be close.Game InformationWhen: 2:30 p.m.Where: Ann Arbor, Michigan, Michigan StadiumTV: ABC (Dave Flemming, Brian Griese, Todd McShay)Radio: Badger Sports Radio Network, Sirius/XM 84 (Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas, Patrick Herb)All-time series: Michigan leads, 47-14-1.last_img


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