Wisconsin at NebraskaSaturday, 5 pm PT - Big Ten NetworkCRIS Opener:
Wisconsin -13.5 O/U 49CRIS Current:
Wisconsin -12.5 O/U 45.5Recommendation:
Feeling the heat of an 1-3 start, including a home loss to Northern Illinois, Nebraska head coach Mike Riley is well aware his days in Lincoln could be numbered. Said "heat" has cooled off a little bit thanks to back-to-back wins to open Big Ten play. The competition
Rutgers and Illinois
was far from imposing and it really ramps up moving forward starting with a home tilt vs. Wisconsin. One noticable change during Nebraska's two recent wins was a far more conservative game plan. The Cornhuskers ran the ball 85 times vs. only 45 pass attempts. Check out some of the quotes following NU's win over Rutgers:
“Running the ball to win at the end is a good thing to be able to do,” Riley said. “That mentality as we go forward, if we can build on that and if we can balance it out with not necessarily more often but a more efficient passing game, we’re going to be better and better.”
“I think it’s important being able to manage the game and control the clock,” Lee said. “Just kind of getting behind the offensive line and let them take over the game, that was huge. Our offensive line has been taking pride in the work that they put in, and that was great to see.”
Saturday's game is an important one with Nebraska 2-0, Wisconsin 1-0, and the remainder of the West Division winless in league play. Run-heavy and chewing the clock could be tricky in a game where Nebraska projects to be playing from behind. But it's abundantly clear that shortening the game and staying close is priority #1 for this squad.
Wisconsin was able to post impressive offensive numbers its first three games albeit against the soft defenses of Utah State, Florida Atlantic and BYU. Last week, facing a bit more resistance, the Badgers managed only 306 total yards in their 33-24 win over Northwestern. The final tally was very deceving as both teams combined for only 550 yards but five turnovers and a pick six helped it go over the total. Last year's meeting saw Wisconsin grind out a 23-17 win in Madison. Both squads combined for a Big Ten-esque 642 yards. I project a very similar outcome on Saturday though the total has already been bet down from 49 to 45.5. As with a lot of early week movement, there's a strong tendency for "buy back" at some point. I would wait to see if 47 or 46.5 becomes available.