Following their stunning 23-5 home loss to UNLV, the Badgers dropped out of the rankings this week from as high as No. 14 in the Associated Press Top 25. That may not be good news for Carolina, who once again, will likely be unable to catch a favored opponent looking ahead.
Wisconsin is ranked third in the Big Ten in total offense, averaging 440 yards per game. However, while their offense managed 291 yards, they allowed eight sacks for a total loss of 67 yards and committed five turnovers versus UNLV.
This will be the first-ever meeting between UNC and UW, and just the third time that the Badgers have faced a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference. Wisconsin defeated Virginia 24-17 in the 2001 season opener and Duke 34-20 in the 1995 Hall of Fame Bowl.
Here's IC's weekly trip through the depth chart of UNC's next opponent.
Jim Sorgi (6-5, 190, Sr.) is the real deal at the helm of the offense. Earlier this season, he became one of just 14 quarterbacks in NCAA history to throw a 99-yard touchdown pass. Sorgi has 2,965 career passing yards and a 133.7 efficiency rating, as he enjoys just his first year as the full-time starter. Don't expect to see backup Matt Schabert unless Sorgi gets hurt or the Badgers open up an insurmountable lead.
Lee Evans (5-11, 202, Sr.) is the most dangerous player on offense. He is UW's career leader with 2,597 receiving yards, and leads the Big Ten averaging 114 yards per game this season. Evans needs just five catches to supplant Al Toon as the Badgers' all-time leader for receptions. Brandon Williams (5-11, 170, So.), who is the team's second leading receiver with 14 catches this year for 178 yards, will line up at the other wide receiver position. Jonathan Orr (6-3, 190, So.), who set a team record with 842 receiving yards as a freshman last year, will be in on the three-receiver sets.
There are no seniors in the starting lineup and it showed in the offensive line's inability to protect Sorgi last week. However, the unit does not lack size. Guards' Dan Buenning (6-4, 298, Jr.) and Jonathan Clinkscale (6-3, 308, Jr.) are the only returning starters, with tackles' Mike Lorenz (6-5, 313, Jr.) and Morgan Davis (6-5, 326, Jr.) getting their first starts this year. Center Donavan Raiola's (6-3, 290, So.) older brother Dominic, was All-America at Nebraska and now starts for the Detroit Lions.
Tony Paciotti (6-4, 263, Jr.) is a two-year starter that has never caught a pass in a game. Look for him to serve as a sixth lineman in nearly all situations when he is in the lineup. Jason Pociask (6-3, 250, So.) will also play.
End Jonathan Welsh (6-4, 228, Jr.) has collected two sacks this season, including at team-high 17 yards on tackles for loss. On the other side, Darius Jones (6-3, 268, Jr.) returned to action and forced a fumble last week after missing the second game of the season against the Zips. Tackles' Anttaj Hawthorne (6-3, 300, Jr.) and Jason Jefferson (6-3, 307, Jr.) have a combined 34 starts between them.
Jeff Mack (6-0, 244, Sr.), a 2003 Butkus Award candidate, ranks third in the Big Ten with 32 tackles so far this season. He was the defensive MVP of the 2002 Alamo Bowl. Over a three-year span, UW is 9-2 when Mack is in the starting lineup and 1-5 when he is not. Alex Lewis (6-1, 237, Sr.), who has already blocked two punts this season, recorded seven tackles (two for loss) and a sack against the Mountaineers. Chris Catalano (6-1, 206, Jr.), a converted wide receiver, is seeing his first action at linebacker this year.
Free safety Jim Leonhard (5-8, 183, Jr.), now on scholarship for the first time, is second on the team with 27 tackles this season. He led the nation last year with 11 interceptions and already has one this year against Akron. And according to the Wisconsin media guide, he is also the the team's slam-dunk champion. Corners' Brett Bell (6-0, 193, Jr.) and Scott Starks (5-10, 158, Jr.) and strong safety Ryan Aiello (6-1, 196, Sr.) round out a formidable defensive backfield for the Badgers.
Lewis blocked a punt for a safety versus UNLV last week; and blocked a punt that was returned for a touchdown at West Virginia. Kicker Scott Campbell (6-0, 245, Sr.) missed his first two field goal opportunities of the season, but has rebounded to convert on four of his last five attempts. Punter R.J. Morse (6-1, 246, Jr.) has pinned opponents inside their own 20-yard line five times this season. Leonhard holds the Wisconsin record for punt-return average with 12.3 yards per return.