J.J. Watt, DE – Indiana went up against one of the nation's best defensive ends last week in Adrian Clayborn, but there won't be any drop off this week when they must contend with 6'6", 292-pound Watt. Watt ranks second in the Big Ten in both tackles for loss (16 ½) and sacks (6), and a case can be made that he's been the league's most dominant defensive player this season. He's been on a tear as of late, with all six of his sacks and 11 ½ of his tackles for loss coming during the last five weeks since conference play began. It has been a somewhat odd journey for Watt, who actually began his college career at Central Michigan as a tight end. But after playing in all 14 of the Chippewas' games in 2007, Watt transferred to UW and moved to the defensive line. After redshirting in '08 he was an honorable mention All-Big Ten choice in '09 after totaling 15 ½ tackles for loss and 4 ½ sacks. He's already eclipsed both of those marks this season and is a likely first or second-team All-American.
Scott Tolzien, QB – the Badgers have long been known as a ground-oriented team, and that hasn't changed. But this fifth-year senior quarterback has provided some balance that has often been lacking in Madison. A second-year starter, Tolzien has completed 138-of-193 throws for 1,688 yards and nine touchdowns, ranking him 18th nationally in passing efficiency. His 71.8 percent completion percentage has him on pace to set a new UW school record in the category, and he already owns the school record in single-season completions (211) and is second on the UW list for single-season yardage (2,705) from a year ago. Tolzien isn't a mobile quarterback – he has -26 rushing yards on the season – which will be a welcome change for the IU defense. But he's extremely accurate and will hurt IU if they sell out to stop the run.
Gabe Carimi, LT – Wisconsin has turned its share of talented offensive linemen who have gone on to NFL success, and Carimi appears poised to next in line. Carimi stands at 6'7" and 327 pounds and was tabbed as a preseason first-team All-American. A fourth-year starter, Carimi has been huge in opening holes for the Badger ground attack as well as protecting Tolzien's blindside. When the NFL Draft rolls around in the spring he's projected by most to be a mid-to-late first round NFL Draft pick and is considered one of the top five offensive tackles available in the draft.
Lance Kendricks, TE – the 6'4", 240-pound Kendricks is another player who is expected to be gone early in next spring's NFL Draft. He likely won't go as high as Carimi since not as much value is placed on tight ends as offensive tackles, but Kendricks is the consensus pick as the nation's top tight end according to NFL talent evaluators. Kendricks leads Wisconsin with 28 receptions for 426 yards and three touchdowns, although he's been slowed as of late with an ankle injury suffered against Iowa Oct. 23. That limited him to just one catch for nine yards against Purdue, but he should be closer to 100 percent this weekend. That's bad news for the Hoosiers, considering Kendricks had a couple of 100-yard efforts earlier this season against Arizona State and Austin Peay before he was injured.
On Monday – Five Numbers to Note
On Tuesday – Four Names to Know
On Wednesday – Three Key Match-Ups
On Thursday – Two Big Concerns
On Friday – One Bold Prediction
WISCONSIN: Four Days and Counting
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Hoosier Newsstand, Dec. 5Get the latest articles on Indiana basketball, football and other sports in today's edition of the Hoosier Newsstand.
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