Five Keys to Victory: Nebraska

Both teams are undefeated and both teams have national title hopes, but either No.7 Wisconsin or No.8 Nebraska will have to cross both of those facts off its resume. Badger Nation gives its five keys to victory over tonight's Big Ten opener.

1. A bigger dual threat

Wisconsin has faced a dual-threat quarterback in three of their first four games and so far, so good. Saturday brings a whole new challenge, however, in Taylor Martinez. The Huskers quarterback not only has more rushing yards than his Wisconsin counterpart, Russell Wilson, he has more rushing yards than anyone on the field. In order to stop Martinez, the Badgers need to keep him from getting to the outside. When rushing outside the tackles, Martinez averages 9.7 yards per carry.

2. Back to Badger basics

With Huskers corner Alfonzo Dennard back in the defensive backfield, Wisconsin may not have quite as much success (first in the Big Ten with 286.7 ypg) through the air. That makes the Wisconsin run game that much more important. Montee Ball and James White need to establish the run early and find the holes in what has been to this point a mediocre run defense (giving up 133.2 ypg). If Nebraska has the opportunity to drop the safeties back in coverage, the Huskers could slow the powerful Badgers offense.

3. A Crick in the neck

The Blackshirts defense was a big reason the Cornhuskers were a preseason top ten team. Thus far, it hasn't lived up to expectations. A possible explanation is the lack of the anchor in the middle, Nebraska tackle Jared Crick. Crick may be the first Big Ten player drafted in the 2012 draft, and for good reason. The man is stout against the run and a threat to opposing quarterback safety. The offensive line, which has only given up four sacks all season (some of which may be considered quarterback runs), will be tested for the first time this season. If things get dicey, we may see just how good Wilson is at throwing on the run.

4. Toon time

Wisconsin receiver Nick Toon has had his fair share of ups and downs during his career. Last week, however, was the first time he looked like a true force. After hauling in two touchdowns and 155 yards receiving, Toon turned a corner. The addition of Wilson may have been key as the two have built quite the connection. The connection will face quite possibly the biggest test all season (and definitely the biggest so far) in Dennard. If Toon can prove he can hang with the big boys, the Badgers may have a much easier time navigating what should be a tough defense.

5. Camp Randall invasion

Cornhuskers have arrived in Madison in huge numbers and many look to snatch up any tickets they can get their corn pickin' hands on. They have gone as far as ordering a "black out" of Camp Randall. It will be a test of the Badgers faithful to shut out the Big Ten's newest fanbase and keep the electric atmosphere on the Wisconsin side.

Fearless Prediction

The touted Blackshirts defense hasn't been quite as dominant as many originally thought. That said, Crick, Dennard, and elite linebacker Lavonte David haven't seen the field as a unit at all this year. If the Badgers secondary can keep Martinez from the big play and the front seven can keep him inside the tackles, Wisconsin should come out on top. In a game that plays out like last year's epic matchup against Ohio State, the Badgers once again come out with 13 more points than the opposing squad.

Wisconsin 37 Nebraska 24


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