Tigers Impressed by Badgers' Offense

Wisconsin brings one of the top offenses in the country into the Capital One Bowl in Orlando.

Auburn, Ala.-—When the seventh-ranked Auburn Tigers square off against the 20th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 2 it will be a battle of offense against defense as the Badgers come into the game with an explosive attack led by the running of Brian Calhoun.

One of the country's best backs, Calhoun has rushed for 1,423 yards and 21 touchdowns in 12 games. His 118.58 yards per game average is eighth in the country while his touchdown total ties him with LenDale White from USC for the nation's lead. Auburn senior linebacker Travis Williams says the game will be a challenge for the Tiger defense because of the physical game the Badgers play.

"Being a college football fan and watching football, you kind of watch the good teams," Williams says. "I have been watching Calhoun. He's a track guy out there running the ball. They have one of the top centers in the country so T.J. (Tommy Jackson) will have a challenge. Their quarterback is playing pretty good.

"They've got a lot of talent around. We've just got to be ready. It's their coach's last year so they've got a lot to play for. We've got to be up for the challenge."

Standout center Donovan Raiola snaps to quarterback John Stocco. Stocco has thrown for 2,619 yards and 19 touchdowns with just nine interceptions.

An All-American candidate by just about every publication, senior center Donovan Raiola is one of the top players at his position in the country. A preseason candidate for both the Rimington Award and the Outland Trophy, he anchors a line that made the Badgers one of the top scoring teams in the country. Averaging 35.2 points per game this season, Wisconsin is capable of scoring points in bunches and Tommy Jackson says it's going to be important for the defensive line to play well if Auburn hopes to get a victory.

"They've got a physical O-line," Jackson says. "They've been playing together for a while. A lot of those guys were sophomores when they were playing against us, so I know they've got a lot of them back. They play well together and they play hard. They've got the personnel to be like a SEC team and line up and run it.

"It's going to be important for the defensive line to keep doing the things we're doing like getting off the ball and pushing people back. I think if we can do that and continue to do the things we've been doing then we'll be fine."

Making Auburn's task tougher against Wisconsin is the fact that it's Barry Alvarez's last game as the coach of the Badgers. Responsible for putting Wisconsin football on the map, Alvarez has the top three win totals for a single season in school history and is the only Big 10 coach in history to win back-to-back Rose Bowl games. For his career Alvarez is 7-3 in bowl games and both Williams and Jackson know his farewell will mean extra energy from the Badgers.

"Anytime you get a team playing for their coach it's a dangerous team," Williams adds. "It's a team that is listening to commentators tell them they don't belong. They've got a lot to fight for. We've got to be ready and come out to practice hard like we do every week.

"He's got the history," Jackson adds. "I understand those guys are going to be jacked. It's going to be a great game and they're going to play their best game. We're going to go out and play our best game. This is our last hurrah. I can't wait."

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