Wisconsin (6-3) at Indiana (4-5)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, Nov. 10, 12 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Stadium (52,929) -- Bloomington, Indiana.
Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Wisconsin 5-1, IU 2-3. Away Record: Wisconsin
1-2, IU 2-2. Neutral Record: Wisconsin 0-0, IU 0-0. Conference Record:
Wisconsin 3-2, IU 2-3. Series Record: Wisconsin leads, 37-18-2.
GAME NOTES: Hoping to secure a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game for the
second consecutive season, the Wisconsin Badgers pay a visit to Memorial
Stadium this Saturday to take on the Indiana Hoosiers.
Bret Bielema has guided Wisconsin to back-to-back Big Ten titles and Rose Bowl
appearances, and with a win this week his squad will lock up a spot in this
year's Big Ten title tilt to be played in Indianapolis on Dec. 1. Penn State
and Ohio State are ahead of Wisconsin in the Leaders Division standings, but
both of those schools are ineligible for postseason play due to NCAA
sanctions. The Badgers will have had two weeks to prepare for this contest, as
they suffered a 16-13 setback to Michigan State prior to last weekend's bye.
This contest marks the final home game of the season for Indiana. The Hoosiers
are coming off consecutive wins at Illinois (31-17) and home against Iowa
(24-21), the first time they have won back-to-back Big Ten games since 2007.
IU needs to win two of its final three games in order to become bowl eligible.
Wisconsin leads the head-to-head series, 37-18-2, after routing IU in Madison
last October, 59-7.
The Badgers saw their 21-game home win streak come to an end against Michigan
State, as they could hardly get anything going on offense. Redshirt freshman
quarterback Joel Stave was 9-of-11 for 127 yards and a touchdown before
exiting early in the second half with an injury to his collarbone, which
turned out to be season-ending. His absence will put added pressure on Heisman
candidate Montee Ball and the running game, which was held to 19 net yards
against MSU. After rushing for 10 touchdowns over his previous four games,
Ball was held out of the end zone and remains five TDs shy of breaking the
NCAA career record of 78, held by Miami-Ohio's Travis Prentice. Just one week
earlier against Minnesota, Ball and junior backfield mate James White became
the first FBS teammates to eclipse 150 rushing yards in a game this season.
Wisconsin's defense has picked up its play of late, having allowed an average
of 14.3 points over its last four Big Ten tilts. The unit now ranks 16th
nationally in both total defense (311.3 ypg) and scoring defense (17.6 ppg).
In fact, six of the team's last nine opponents have been held to fewer than 20
points. The Badgers are 45-4 during the Bielema era when allowing 20 points or
less. However, one of those four setbacks came in the last outing against
Spartans. MSU was kept out of the end zone until Le'Veon Bell's game-tying
five-yard touchdown run with 1:08 remaining in the fourth quarter, which
capped a 12-play, 75-yard drive. The Spartans won it with a touchdown pass in
the extra session, overcoming just 277 yards of total offense for the game.
Despite its sub par record, Indiana has scored at least 24 points in every
game this season and a school-record 10 straight overall. The Hoosiers have
already eclipsed last season's point total with three games yet to play. They
enter the weekend leading the Big Ten in passing offense (299.9 ypg), while
ranking second in total offense (446.7 ypg) and sacks allowed (1.33), and
third in scoring offense (33.1 ppg). Cameron Coffman completed 21-of-33 passes
for a career-high 315 yards and three TDs against Iowa. All three of those
touchdown passes went to Cody Latimer, who finished with 113 yards on seven
receptions to earn co-Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors. Teammate
Kofi Hughes tallied six catches for 110 yards, as he and Latimer became the
first Hoosiers to go over 100 receiving yards in a Big Ten game since 1992.
Running back Stephen Houston was held to 52 yards on 18 carries and saw his
touchdown streak ended at nine straight games. He also lost IU's first fumble
of the season in the victory.
Indiana currently leads the Big Ten in tackles for loss (7.4 per game) and is
third in sacks (2.4). The defense has continued to show improvement as the
season has progressed. Over their last three games, the Hoosiers have allowed
an average of only 18.3 points and only 173.7 passing yards. They have notched
nine sacks, 22 tackles for loss and three fumble recovers in that same span,
which included those rare consecutive conference victories. Compare that to
the previous three games in which IU allowed an average of 40 points and 275
passing yards en route to three losses. Last week, the unit held Iowa to 96
rushing yards, the first Big Ten opponent the Hoosiers have held below the
century mark since Nov. 27, 2010. Defensive tackles Adam Replogle and Larry
Black have been a big reason for the recent turnaround, as they are tied for
the conference lead among DTs with four sacks and nine TFL each.
While IU has made some strides defensively, it will face a stiff test against
Ball and White, both of whom are surely looking to rebound from a tough outing
coming off last week's bye. In three career games against the Hoosiers, Ball
has averaged 141.3 rushing yards and has scored eight TDs.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wisconsin 27, Indiana 23
11/07 10:45:20 ET