Five Keys to Victory: Penn State

Despite being two teams with different outside expectations heading into the season, both No.15 Wisconsin and No.21 Penn State find themselves in the same place - battling for a Big Ten Leaders Division title. Badger Nation gives its five keys to victory.

1. Control the emotions

Saturday's matchup is huge for both teams. On the one hand, Wisconsin has senior day and all that goes along with it. On the other, well its hard to even remember that Penn State is a football team and not just a series of news stories. Add to the mix the fact that a birth in the inaugural Big Ten championship is at stake for both teams and the emotions will be running at an all time high.

2. Christmas colors

The past few seasons, the Penn State defense has been an anemic one. The only bright spot has been at running back, where Silas Redd has silently become one of the Big Ten's best. After averaging 5.7 yards per carry last season in limited touches, Redd has become the feature back for the Nittany Lions. Redd has kept his yards per carry over five, but has nearly tripled his workload, giving him 1,122 yards for the season, good for fourth in the Big Ten. Backup back Stephfon Green doesn't have the yardage stats that Redd has, but had a big game last week with 93 yards and two touchdowns, so the Badgers might be seeing enough of both Redd and Green to think Christmas is already here.

3. Tame the Wild-Lion

The Nittany Lions unveiled a new wrinkle in what had been a one-dimensional offense last week in Columbus in the newly dubbed "Wild-Lion." Their version of the Wildcat offense, brought about in practice preparation to face Nebraska and its attack, the Wild-Lion features Curtis Drake and Bill Belton behind center and gives Penn State a new wrinkle in the offense that helped them rack up 254 yards in the first half against OSU. The Badgers have had the benefit of seeing the Wildcat a few times this season, but this is possibly the best offensive line its been run behind and it could give the Badgers something to growl at.

4. In the Still of the night

Wisconsin has most likely the top two candidates for offensive player of the year in Montee Ball and Russell Wilson. The two will be tested Saturday by the front runner for the top defensive honor in Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still. Still has been a big reason why the Nittany Lions rank No.1 in the Big Ten in scoring defense and No.3 in rushing defense. Still ranks 3rd in the Big Ten in tackles for loss with 16.5 and would probably be top in stuffs for no gain if that was a tracked stat.

5. Back on the Ball

Move over Russell, the Badger that will probably take home the most wood/glass/bronze this season is now fully expected to be Montee Ball. While Ball still has an outside shot at the Heisman (to get it, Ball would have to break the touchdown mark of 39 set by Barry Sanders), the Doak Walker award in firmly in his sights. Ball has stiff competition in Trent Richardson and LaMichael James, but continuing the pursuit of Sanders' record, piling up some more yards and leading the Badgers to a Big Ten title game berth might put Ball in the drivers seat.

Fearless Prediction

It's gon' rain! As far as football goes, the number one scoring offense should be able to put up points against the number one scoring defense, and the Wild-Lion is no longer a surprise. Combine that with the Camp Randall factor, and Wisconsin should be making plans to visit beautiful Indianapolis next weekend.

Wisconsin 31 Penn State 17


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