Breakdown: Oregon State

Making its first trip to the Pacific Northwest since 2001, No.13 Wisconsin takes on a well-rested Oregon State squad Saturday. Badger Nation looks at the matchup.

No.12 Wisconsin (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten) vs. Oregon State (0-0, 0-0 Pac 12)

Date/Time - Saturday, September 8 at 3:05 p.m. CT

Stadium –Reser Stadium (45,674/FieldTurf)

Television - FX (Craig Bolerjack, Joel Klatt and Petros Papadakis)

Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)

Series – Wisconsin leads 2-0-0 (First meeting in Corvallis, OR.)

Last Meeting – Wisconsin won , 35-0, on September 10, 2011 in Madison

Last meeting's Badger Nation game coverage

Last week's Badger Nation game coverage

Series Notes

Saturday's matchup will mark the Badgers' first trip to Corvallis but their third trip to the state of Oregon. UW is 1-1 in its previous appearances, scoring a 22-10 win over Oregon in Eugene in 1977 and dropping a 31-28 decision to the Ducks in 2001.

Wisconsin owns a 19-18-1 record against the Pac-12's current lineup of programs during those teams' membership in the league.

After enduring a seven-game skid against the Pac-12 from 1979-1992, the Badgers have gone 11-2-1 overall against the league since 1993. Both UW losses in that span have come to Oregon (a regular-season meeting in 2001 and the 2012 Rose Bowl).

On the road, Wisconsin is 5-11-1 against the Pac-12, including a 9-7 win over Arizona in 2004 in the Badgers' last road game against the league.

The Badgers are 4-0 against the Pac-12 during their current 33-game nonconference win streak, with wins over Arizona (2004), Washington State (2007), Arizona State (2010) and Oregon State (2011).

Saturday's contest marks the first time a Big Ten team has ventured to Corvallis since 1971 when the Beavers defeated Iowa, 33-19. Overall, the Beavers are 2-2 against Big Ten teams in Corvallis with wins of Iowa (33-19) in 1971 and Indiana (24-14) in 1964 and losses to Northwestern (14-6) in 1966 and Michigan State (46-21) in 1948.

Wisconsin Notes

The Badgers seek to improve to 2-0 for the 11th-consecutive season. USC is the only other team in the nation to start every season since 2002 with a 2-0 record, though some of the Trojans' results have been vacated.

Wisconsin did not commit a turnover, one of 22 teams without a giveaway in the opening week. The Badgers have just 19 giveaways in their last 28 games.

UW scored on all four of its red zone chances, with a pair of touchdowns and two field goals.

Wisconsin converted 9 of 16 third-down attempts. UW is 47-6 under head coach Bret Bielema when converting at least 40 percent of its third-down tries.

The Badgers were flagged for just two penalties (for a total of 15 yards) in their opener, making them one of 11 teams nationally with two or fewer penalties.

Wisconsin has won 11 straight regular-season non-conference games on the road, dating back to the Badgers' last trip to the Pacific Northwest, when Oregon handed the Badgers a 31-28 loss in Eugene on Sept. 1, 2001.

Oregon State Notes

The Beavers are coming off a 2011 season that saw them finish 3-9 overall and 3-6 in Pac-12 Conference play. OSU returns seven starters on offense and eight starters on defense from last year's squad.

Oregon State's two-deep entering the season opener is full of underclassmen which bodes well for future seasons. Of the 48 possible players on offense, defense and punter/kicker, 24 are either freshmen or sophomores – this does not take into account OSU's H-Back and fullback positions – which would add another three to the equation. Specifically on offense, 13 players on the two-deep in the traditional 11 positions are underclassmen.

Senior wide receiver Markus Wheaton has quietly put together a 23-game streak of receptions; tied for 12th in the nation and third in the Pac-12 behind the 25-game streaks of Keenan Allen of Cal and Marquess Wilson of WSU. Wheaton enters the season ninth in OSU history with 136 receptions and he is just 49 yards short of reaching 10th at OSU (1,799) – currently with 1,750 yards.

The season opens one week later than was scheduled as last Saturday's home opener with Nicholls State was postponed indefinitely due to Hurricane Isaac. This will be the Beavers' latest season opener since a Sept. 9, 1989 game vs. Stanford

Saturday is arguably the biggest home opener in Corvallis in the history of the program. A near sellout (as of Tuesday) crowd is expected at Reser/Parker Stadium against the No. 13 Badgers, the highest-ranked non-league team to play in Corvallis since the Beavers upset then No. 13 BYU 24-19 Oct. 8, 1977. OSU played many "home" games in Portland during the last century, which included contests against several non-league ranked foes (OSU was an independent 1959-63).

Head coach Mike Riley's teams have made a routine of beating highly ranked teams of late. Recent victims: 2010 – at No. 9 Arizona (29-27 OSU win), vs. No. 20 USC (36-7); 2009 – at No. 23 California (31-14); 2008 – vs. No. 1 USC (27-21); 2007 – at No. 2 California (31-28), at No. 18 Oregon (38-31 OT); 2006 – vs. No. 3 USC (33-31), at No. 24 Hawai'i (35-32); 2005 – at No. 18 California (23-20).

Oregon State's home record of 53-20 this century at Reser Stadium is third best in the Pac-12 Conference, trailing Oregon (63-13) and USC (60-14).

Prediction

Who has a bigger advantage – a team that had to play a game or a team that had a bye? It's an age-old debate and comes into play this week in a unique scenario, considering Wisconsin played week one and Oregon State, because of weather, got to have extra practice time. Where do I stand on Wisconsin-Oregon State? Without question, advantage to the Badgers.

Oregon State hasn't played a game since November 26 and all the things that Wisconsin went through last week – rust out of its system, make corrections and learn what they can and can't do – Oregon State will experience this week. Even though Oregon State will be healthy, the Beavers will certainly experience issues.

Oregon State coach Mike Riley wished his team would have played since the Beavers were well into game preparation on Nicholls State, but said his team hadn't had a big letdown or had any distractions because of it. He called it a ‘silver lining,' but admitted coaches find out the most about their team when they play a game. Again, that gives Wisconsin an edge.

They key in this game is the Wisconsin running game, which was productive in week two last season against Oregon State (Montee Ball with 118 yards, James White with 53). There wasn't a lot of room to run for Wisconsin in the opener, much like its game against the Beavers last year.

Oregon State tried to stop the run with seven and eight-man boxes and overloading the middle by bringing their safeties closer to the line of scrimmage. The plan worked until Russell Wilson started throwing the football all over the field. If O'Brien can do the same, that's going to open up a lot of zones for the offense. I expect that to happen, especially utilizing the play-action pass off the run or a fly sweep, which they did against Northern Iowa.

Ball admitted that he missed out on getting bounced around in camp, meaning he'll be better suited for playing conditions this week. I also imagine that the missed blocks by wide receivers, fullbacks and offensive line will decrease with everybody getting some experience last week. Wisconsin learned some plays on where they could run and what plays guys were comfortable blocking. That will pay dividends this week. Wisconsin will get an important road win this week and will cover the seven-point spread.

Wisconsin 31, Oregon State 20

Worgull's Predictions

Straight up: 1-0

Against the Spread: 0-0

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