Wisconsin – Saturday, November 15th
Head Coach: Gary Anderson (9-4, 2nd season)
2013 Record: 9-4 (6-2 in Big Ten)
(Returning information written by Ben Worgull)
Best Returning Offensive Player - RB Melvin Gordon (Jr.)
An All-Big Ten selection a season ago, Gordon rushed for 1,609 yards and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore, including running for at least 140 yards in six of the first seven games of the season. He faded down the stretch of the regular season, scoring only one touchdown in his final seven games, but had an encouraging performance against South Carolina (ranked 50th in the country last season in allowing 153.8) rushing yards per game in the Capital One Bowl, rushing for 146 yards on 25 carries. He did all this as the team's No. 2 tailback, which has fans excited for what he does as the starter.
Best Returning Defensive Player – CB Sojourn Shelton (So.)
The Badgers lose eight defensive starters, but Shelton is an up-and-coming star in the secondary. He made 36 tackles a season ago - sixth best on the team - and had a team-high four interceptions. With so many new players taking on bigger roles in front of him, Shelton will need to play at an even higher level to keep Wisconsin's defense moving forward.
Biggest Starter Loss - WR Jared Abbrederis
Abbrederis had nearly 2.5 times the amount of receptions compared to the rest of the receivers last season (1,081 to 299), and he scored all seven of the group's touchdowns. With a returning group having combined for 28 receptions last season, the Badgers will need to rely on at least a couple of the five incoming freshman wide receivers this fall to contribute to the offense at a position devoid of depth.
Last Meeting - The Badgers avenged a September loss in Lincoln by pummeling No.12 Nebraska, 70-31, in the 2012 Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis, denying Nebraska a chance to win its first conference title since 1999. Attempting only 10 passes, Wisconsin led from start to finish by running through the Cornhuskers' heralded Blackshirt defense. Montee Ball rushed for 202 and three touchdowns, while Melvin Gordon ran for 216 yards and a score and James White added 109 yards and four touchdowns, as the Badgers racked up 639 total yards.
(Written by Josh Harvey)
How they matchup based off 2013 stats:
Scoring Offense: Nebraska 31.9 (48th) / Wisconsin 34.8 (27th)
Scoring Defense: Nebraska 24.8 (49th) / Wisconsin 16.3 (6th)
Passing Offense: Nebraska 196.7 (97th) / Wisconsin 197.1 (96th)
Passing Defense: Nebraska 214.6 (32nd) / Wisconsin 202.5 (17th)
Rushing Offense: Nebraska 215.7 (19th) / Wisconsin 283.8 (8th)
Rushing Defense: Nebraska 156.2 (54th) / Wisconsin 102.5 (5th)
Total Offense: Nebraska 412.4 (59th) / Wisconsin 480.8 (18th)
Total Defense: Nebraska 370.8 (40th) / Wisconsin 305.1 (7th)
Nebraska player to watch: Michael Rose/Josh Banderas, MLB
Whoever wins the starting MIKE spot is going to be likely busy with Wisconsin's rushing attacking featuring Heisman hopeful Melvin Gordon. The Badgers won't put the ball through the air much, unless they are forced. Despite featuring a different coaching staff, it's likely the Badgers will try some misdirection to get the Huskers playing on their heels. Not only will Rose/Banderas be busy trying to stop Gordon at the line of scrimmage, they will be busy quarterbacking the defense.
For more information on Wisconsin visit BadgerNation.com.