Preview: Back to Business

After taking its bye week to get healthy and fully embrace its victory over No.8 Nebraska, No.4 Wisconsin is ready to get back to work and hosts a struggling Indiana squad, the same program it hung 83 points on a year ago, in Saturday's Homecoming Game.

MADISON – If an offense put up 83 points on a defense Aaron Henry was a part of, the senior safety knows exactly how he would feel walking off the field.

"On my goodness, a team gets a couple first downs on us and we get reminded about it all next week," said Henry. "I can't imagine that, and you're going to use it to get better, get better in your offseason workouts, using it during the week of preparation or practice and do everything you have been doing times two.

"Anytime you lose a game by 70 points or by one point, you are going to use it as motivation when you do face that team again."

With No.4 Wisconsin well rested coming out of the bye week, the Badgers (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) are expecting 63 times the amount of normal motivation when the struggling Hoosiers play their first conference road game in Madison Saturday.

Last year's matchup between the two schools in Madison was anything but pretty for Indiana, who suffered an 83-20 blowout that included a late defensive score, a touchdown by the third-string quarterback and a lot of accusations of Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema running up the score.

On Monday, Bielema made no apologies for the blowout, and recognized that first-year head coach Kevin Wilson has seen weekly improvement from his team. Others might not be so sure.

Indiana (1-5, 0-2 Big Ten) has been bullied all season, and it's only win has come against a Football Championship Subdivision school. The Hoosiers haven't had a winning conference record in the last nine years and with the Hoosiers last in the conference in rushing defense (210.0 ypg), eighth in pass defense (211.5 ypg, 11 TD passes) and tied for ninth in points allowed (27.2 ppg), 10 straight losing seasons seems inevitable.

It's either been a big deficit it couldn't fully overcome (falling behind 23-3 vs. Virginia and allowing 10 points in the final 96 seconds in a 34-31 loss and falling behind 24-0 at North Texas) or not keeping momentum, taking a 10-0 lead vs. Illinois last weekend only to have defensive breakdowns and turnovers result in a 41-20 defeat.

In its five losses, Indiana has lost by 21, six and three points three times.

"You need to be on the same page," said Wilson of the miscommunications on defense, which has given up a 69-yard pass play or worse the last four games. "Just because you know the call, it's not about you. It's about the guy playing to the right and left. Make sure they got it … We have to make sure as coaches we keep looking at our players … Everyone's on the same page. I'm not disappointed. It's not where it needs to be, and we'll keep working as we move forward."

Bringing that hard-nosed philosophy over from Oklahoma's offense, Wilson wants to run a no-huddle spread offense that attempts to execute as many plays as possible. Problem is Indiana has got weaknesses on the offensive line and inconsistencies at quarterback.

Although Indiana is fourth in the Big Ten in passing offense (250.0 yards per game), the quarterbacks have only seven touchdown passes and four interceptions and have been sacked a league-high 18 times. Quarterback Dusty Kiel is out this weekend after aggravating an ankle injury, meaning quarterback Edward Wright-Baker will pilot an offense ranked last in the Big Ten in rushing (118.8 ypg) and is 10th in scoring (23.3 points per game). Wright-Baker has completed 62 percent of his passes, giving the passing game a glimmer of hope with seven players having at least 10 catches, including wide receiver Damarlo Belcher (23 catches, 265 yards) who needs five receptions to be Indiana's all-time catch leader.

"The biggest difference (from last year) is there effort on film," senior wide receiver Nick Toon said. "They are hustling, they are trying to make plays and they are finishing everything. They are playing a lot harder this year and I think that will serve them well in the future.

"There are pluses and minuses to having a bye week," he added. "It gave us a chance to get our legs back and relax a little bit, but a lot of other teams played last Saturday. I'm very anxious to get out there and do what we do."

Indiana players have come out this week talking about if the Hoosiers can start fast, match the Badgers' intensity and fix the little problems that have been plaguing them that they can be compete. The Hoosiers also have been referencing last year's final score, which a handful of sources have told Bielema that the 83-20 score has been displayed prominently in their football locker room, and is a point of emphasis for them heading into the weekend.

Bielema acknowledged that the Hoosiers have showed they're "right there knocking on the door," playing tougher, more aggressive on defense and more fundamentals. The same could be said for Wisconsin, which is one win from becoming bowl eligible and another win away from staying on track for its bigger goals.

"The way we practice, it's harder than games," Henry said. "That's just the culture around here … The way we have been playing, we put ourselves in a position where the target is even bigger now. Everybody that we face from here on out is going to give us there best shot."

Indiana (1-5, 0-2 Big Ten, 0-2 Leaders) vs. No.4 Wisconsin (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten, 0-0 Leaders)

Date/Time - Saturday, October 15 at 11:01 a.m. CT

Stadium –Camp Randall Stadium (80,123/FieldTurf)

Television - ESPN2 (Beth Mowins and Mike Bellotti)

Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas), Sirius Ch.117, XM Ch.196

Series – Wisconsin leads 37-18-2 (21-8-1 in Madison)

Last Meeting – Wisconsin won, 83-20, on Nov. 13, 2010 in Madison

Series Notes:

UW has won the last six meetings with an average margin of victory of 30.5 points. Wisconsin is averaging 45.8 points against the Hoosiers since 1999 (10 games).

The Badgers have won six of the last seven games at Camp Randall Stadium.

Eight of the last 10 meetings between the teams have been decided by at least 17 points. The last five games at Camp Randall have been decided by an average of 40.0 points.

This is the highest UW has ever been ranked heading into a game with Indiana. The previous high was a No. 6 ranking last year.

Wisconsin Notes:

Saturday marks the 104th Homecoming game at Wisconsin. The Badgers are 53-45-5 on Homecoming and have won six of their last seven.

UW is tied for third in the country in scoring defense, allowing just an average of 10.2 points per game.

Wisconsin has converted 26 of its 29 red zone trips into touchdowns this season (.897). Utah State (20-of-22) is the only team in the country with a better TD percentage inside the red zone. Last year, UW scored TDs on 79.4 percent of its red-zone attempts.

Through five games, UW's defense has allowed just 22 total yards on the first drive of the game. Oregon State and Nebraska are the only teams to get a first down against the Badgers on their initial possession.

QB Russell Wilson leads the country in pass efficiency (216.9) and is third in the country in completion percentage (.748). The NCAA record for single-season pass efficiency is 186.0 by Colt Brennan of Hawaii in 2006. Scott Tolzien shattered the Wisconsin school record in both those categories a year ago with a pass efficiency of 165.9 and a completion percentage of 72.9 percent. In his three seasons at NC State, Wilson's pass efficiency was 135.5 and his completion percentage was .578.

Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers leads the NFL in QB rating (122.9). Russell Wilson, who leads the country in pass efficiency (216.9), would have a QB rating of 151.8 using the NFL formula. Combined, the two QBs from the state of Wisconsin have thrown 27 TDs and just three interceptions this season while completing 72.9 percent of their passes (212-of-291).

Indiana Notes:

Shane Wynn returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown against Illinois. He became the first true freshman in IU history to collect a kickoff return TD and earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors.

On the season, opponents have scored touchdowns 11 times in 24 trips. The 45.8 percent mark ranks second in the Big Ten behind Michigan (42.1). Overall, Indiana has forced four red zone turnovers (3 fumbles and 1 interception).

Tre Roberson became the second true freshman quarterback to ever play at Indiana in the Virginia game. He also appeared against South Carolina State before earning his first extensive action vs. Illinois. Roberson completed 11-of-17 for 148 yards, rushed for 36 yards and scored on a 2-yard run against UI.

For the 10th straight season, the Hoosiers have brothers on the team - freshman Joe and junior Marc Damisch, redshirt freshman Drew and true freshman Forisse Hardin and junior Adam and true freshman Mike Replogle.


A year after leading the country and setting a school record with just nine turnovers, Wisconsin is again not beating themselves, tied for first nationally with just three giveaways this season. Over the last two games, the Badgers' stinginess with ball security is really starting to pay off with the amount of turnovers their defense is generating.

Through the first three games, Wisconsin had forced just one turnover, a fumble recovery against Oregon State. In the last two games, the Badgers have recorded five interceptions, all by different players, three coming from the secondary and two coming from the seniors. After each having a pick against Nebraska, free safety Aaron Henry and cornerback Antonio Fenelus have combined for 10 interceptions in their careers.

Ball security will be important coming out of the bye week against an Indiana team that has nine fumble recoveries and four interceptions in 2011. The Hoosiers 13 turnovers is already one more than it had all of last year, as Indiana is third in the Big Ten in takeaways (tied for 22nd nationally), ranks second in fumble recoveries (tied for fifth nationally) and tied for fifth with a plus-3 turnover margin. The only way for the Hoosiers to be competitive is if they can get some breaks to go their way.

That's still a big ‘if,' as the Badgers are 40-point favorites in this game (that's South Dakota/Austin Peay territory). Wisconsin should win this game easily but will the amount of reserves playing in the second half hurt the spread? If I had five dollars to burn in Vegas, I would take a chance and go the over. After all, with the way Wisconsin's offense has been clicking, the Badgers could put up 90.

Wisconsin 56, Indiana 10

Worgull's Predictions

Straight up: 5-0

Against the Spread: 4-1

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