Five Keys to Victory: Minnesota

Traveling to Minnesota to play a Gophers team that is finally showing some life, No.16 Wisconsin will need to be on top of its game in a road environment that always seems to push them for all four quarters. Badger Nation gives its five keys to victory.

MINNEAPOLIS - On offense, the Badgers match up very well against the Gopher defense, meaning Montee Ball should be primed for a big game. Additionally, the Gophers have a difficult time rushing the football with their tailbacks and the offensive line is still a work in progress, at best, in the running game. This leaves Minnesota QB MarQueis Gray as the Gophers' best hope. Should he have a big game, Minnesota has a chance to pull a major upset. Here are five ways the Badgers will shut him down.

Antonion Fenelus. Half of Gray's completions have been to wide receiver Da' Jon McKnight. Fenelus is having a "shut down corner" type of season and if he can frustrate Gray's efforts to kind McKnight the Badger's will win on Saturday. Gray's secondary targets are far less accomplished and a bit banged up, physically.

Louis Nzegwu. Nzegwu has had two of his best games against dual-threat QBs. Against Nebraska's Taylor Martinez in 2011 and Michigan's Denard Robinson in 2010 Nzegwu was a key component in limiting QB runs. Nzegwu was able to keep containment on his edge of the field. This either forced impromptu throws or limited the available running lanes. If Nzegwu can repeat this effort against Gray and the Gophers the Badgers will be forcing long yardage situations.

Aaron Henry. Henry's ankle was injured during the Purdue game and he didn't play the second half, but reports are that he will play against Minnesota. He won't be called on much to help against the pass, but he might be needed to fill on the edges in run support.

Mixing up the Defensive Looks. Defensive Coordinator Chris Ash had the Badgers in multiple sets on the D-Line against Nebraska, including using two linemen and four linebackers against certain down-and-distance scenarios. Out of this set, the Badgers linebackers frequently showed blitz only to drop back in coverage. They haven't showed this look many times since. It'll be a useful weapon against the inexperienced Gray as linebackers will show up in coverage where he least expects them, possibly producing turnovers.

Early Touchdowns. If the Badgers can get an early lead of several scores, the Gophers will have a very difficult time trying to come back. The more Gray is forced into throwing the ball on obvious passing downs, the better off are the Badgers. Against Michigan State, the Gophers were never more than one score behind, allowing Gray to both run and pass the ball. Forcing Gray to throw the ball should be the Badgers' No.1 goal.

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