O'Brien Schofield, DE - There weren't many around the Big Ten that expected this 6'3", 248-pound senior to be among the Big Ten's best defensive players this fall, but he's clearly been that during the first three-quarters of the season. Schofield's 16 ½ tackles for loss leads the nation, and his 6 ½ sacks trails only Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan in the Big Ten. Schofield has a non-stop motor and is finally starting to attract the sort of double-team attention from opposing teams that one might expect. This weekend's game will be a match-up pitting two of the Big Ten's most productive defensive ends, as IU's Jammie Kirlew ranks fourth in the Big Ten in both tackles for loss (13 ½) and sacks (5 ½). But this is hardly a head-to-head match-up. Instead, it will be the Rodger Saffold vs. Schofield battle that is worth watching. Saffold's athleticism will give him a chance to stay with Schofield, but expect to see Indiana utilize the tight end as well to keep Schofield from creating havoc in the backfield.
Chris Borland, LB - the 5'11", 235-pound true freshman made his first start of the season at outside linebacker Saturday against Purdue and earned co-Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors after recording four tackles, one tackle for loss, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. He earned the start after a breakout effort two weeks earlier against Iowa, when he had 10 tackles, 2 ½ tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble. Borland's opportunity for more playing time came as a result of not only his play, but also the fact that starter Mike Taylor went down with a season-ending knee injury against Iowa. He's taken full advantage of will be a load for Indiana to deal with Saturday. Borland will be involved in UW"s pas rush as a blitzing linebacker in obvious passing situations, and he's also a big part of the Badgers' special teams units as well. Earlier this season he had a blocked punt, a forced fumble and four special teams tackles against Fresno State, earning him Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
John Clay, RB – dating back to the days of Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin has generally had a no-frills offense approach – it will run the ball early and often, and will continue to do so unless an opponent shows an ability to take the ground game away. This Badger team is no different, and Clay is generally the player toting the ball. A preseason first-team All-Big Ten pick, the sophomore is the Big Ten's leading rusher with 177 carries for 839 yards and 10 touchdowns. Clay was good enough a year ago to significantly cut into the carries of another All-Big Ten player, P.J. Hill, and now it's him who's the centerpiece of the Badger offense. He's a 6'1", 248-pounder who won't go down easily if faced with just one tackler. Indiana's defensive players will have to "meet at the ball" whenever Clay has his name called, and they can ill-afford to try to tackle him high. If they do that Clay should easily add a fifth 100-yard game to his 2009 resume.
Lance Kendricks, TE – The Badgers generally use a two tight-end set to help out with run blocking, but the tight ends have also been a big part of the Wisconsin passing attack. Garrett Graham ranks second on the team 30 receptions for 342 yards and has a team-high four touchdown receptions. Kendricks, meanwhile, has caught 17 passes for 174 yards and two more scores. While those numbers are reason for the IU defensive coaches to be aware of the 6'4", 236-pound Kendricks, a new twist to his role has created a new reason for concern. Against Purdue Kendricks carried the ball four times on end arounds and rushed for 91 yards in addition to his four receptions. Those were the first four carries of Kendricks' season, but the success he enjoyed suggests they won't be the last.
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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