Breakdown: Utah State

After dropping its first game of the season, Wisconsin returns home to take on a talented, defeated Utah State squad with a ton of momentum on its side. Badger Nation looks at the matchup.

Utah State (2-0, 0-0 Western Athletic Conference) vs. Wisconsin (1-1, 0-0 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Saturday, September 15 at 7 p.m. CT

Stadium –Camp Randall Stadium (80,321/FieldTurf)

Television - Big Ten Network (Matt Devlin, Glen Mason and Jay Wilson)

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

Series – Utah State leads 1-0-0 (Utah State leads 1-0-0 in Madison)

Last Meeting – Utah State won, 20-0, on October 12, 1968 in Madison

Last week's Badger Nation game coverage

Series Notes

Senior quarterback John Pappas completed 16-of-33 passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns to lead Utah State to a 20-0 win at Wisconsin on Oct. 12, 1968. Senior fullback Frank Nunn added 73 rushing yards on 17 carries for the Aggies, and senior wide receiver Ken DeMartini caught five passes for 66 yards with one touchdown. Utah State finished the game with 360 yards of total offense (220-passing, 140-rushing) and Wisconsin had 208 yards (140-passing, 68-rushing). USU also had 24 first downs in the game as compared to 16 for UW. Defensively, senior defensive tackle Ray Watrin led the Aggies with 11 tackles, while senior defensive back Chuck Detwiler had an interception. Wisconsin was led offensively by senior quarterback John Ryan who was 9-of-9 passing for 94 yards, while senior fullback Wayne Todd had 18 yards on seven carries. Junior wide receiver Melvin Reddick led UW with three catches for 39 yards. Sophomore defensive tackle Jim DeLisle had a game-high 14 tackles for the Badgers, while senior linebacker Ken Criter had 13 tackles.

Wisconsin is 18-7 against the Western Athletic Conference, with wins in 15 of its last 16 meetings with the league. The Badgers have won three straight at home against WAC opponents.

Utah State is 1-12-0 (.077) all-time against current members of the Big Ten Conference with a 1-0 record against Wisconsin, an 0-8 record against Nebraska, a 0-2 record against Iowa, and 0-1 records against Illinois and Penn State. The last time USU played a team from the Big Ten Conference was on Sept. 6, 2003 when it lost at No. 23 Nebraska, 31-7, who was a member of the Big 12 Conference at that time.

Utah State has two players on its 2012 roster who are from the state of Wisconsin in sophomore offensive lineman Josh Larmay (West De Pere/West De Pere HS) and freshman cornerback Marquan Ellison (Miwaukee/Bradley Tech HS).

Wisconsin Notes

Wisconsin is 40-3 in home games since Bielema became coach in 2006. The only three teams to win road games at Camp Randall Stadium in that span all went to BCS bowls (Ohio State and Penn State in 2008 and Iowa in 2009).

Through two games, Wisconsin's defense is allowing just 59.5 rushing yards per game, a number that ranks the Badgers 14th nationally in rushing defense.

Saturday's matchup with Utah State marks the eighth time Wisconsin will play a home game following a road loss under Bret Bielema. The Badgers are 5-2 in such games.

Through its first two games, Wisconsin has been flagged for just five penalties, the seventh-fewest of any team in the nation. The Badgers led the nation in fewest penalties with just 41 total flags in 2010 and have ranked among the nation's top 30 in five of Bret Bielema's first six seasons.

Wisconsin's last five losses (dating back to the 2011 Rose Bowl) have come by a combined 22 points. Three of those involved a video review that went against the Badgers in the final minutes.

Utah State Notes

Utah State will be looking for its eighth-straight regular season win dating back to 2011 and that seven-game regular season winning streak ranks tied for the sixth-longest active streak in the nation along with Baylor.

Utah State has won each of its last three road games dating back to the 2011 season (24-21 at New Mexico State; 49-42 2OT at Idaho; 35-31 at Hawai`i) and is 5-14 (.263) in road games under head coach Gary Andersen.

Utah State is 4-8 in September under Andersen and 3-4 all-time in games played on Sept. 15.

Utah State will be playing back-to-back BCS schools for the first time since the 2003 season when it lost at No. 23 Nebraska (31-7) and lost at No. 16 Arizona State (26-16). Last week, USU defeated Utah (27-20 OT) at home, its first victory against a BCS school since Oct. 17, 1992 when it defeated Kansas State at home, 28-16.

Of the 66 players that saw action for Utah State in its season opener against Southern Utah, 26 were underclassmen including four true freshmen. Furthermore, of the 66 players that Utah State played in its season opener against Southern Utah, 22 were playing in their first-ever Division I game, while 11 were playing in their first-ever collegiate game.

Utah State was in a nation-leading 10 games that were decided by one score in 2011. After playing seven games in 2011 that were decided in the last minute of regulation or overtime, Utah State had another overtime finish in its last game against Utah, winning 27-20. During the last two years, USU is 5-3 in games decided in the final minute of regulation or overtime.


As he took stock of his offense on the first day of week three practice, offensive coordinator Matt Canada was pleased with what his unit showed three days after a shocking upset and two days after a shocking firing.

"I thought they came out with a lot of emotion," said Canada. "I thought they played with some good energy and some good passion.

Wisconsin should have, considering the rotten taste put in its mouth by Oregon State in Corvallis last weekend. The numbers from that 10-7 were ugly, but they bear repeating. Wisconsin managed only 35 net rushing yards and 207 yards of total offense. Wisconsin went 2 of 14 on third downs and punted seven times. The running game was porous, the blocking was nonexistent and the overall product resembled nothing of a championship-caliber team.

It's the main reason Wisconsin dropped out of the AP poll for the first time since 2009 and part of the reason why offensive line coach Mike Markuson was relieved of his duties after only two games.

"We're got to score more points and we've got to play better on offense," said Canada. "That responsibility falls directly on me and I take it … It's got to be better and that's what we got to do, regardless of the situation."

Canada wouldn't go as far to say the group has a sense of panic, but certainly admitted to a sense of urgency, especially with a team of Utah State's caliber coming into Camp Randall. As a team, Utah State is averaging 30.5 points and 474.5 yards of total offense (260.0-passing, 214.5-rushing) and allowing just 11.5 points and 267.0 yards of total offense (191.0-passing, 76.0-rushing). Utah State was also the cardiac kids of college football in 2011, fighting back from double-digit deficits three times for wins.

"Certainly it's a unique situation … but you have to play for the unexpected," said Canada. "That's what we're trying to teach these guys. We're going to move forward and make the best of a difficult situation … Bottom line, it's not close enough to what we expect from our offense and the way we're going to play."

The realization by the players that the product on the field has to be better than it was on Saturday for Wisconsin to move forward and contend for a watered-down Leaders Division. Returning home should certainly help.

The Badgers' 40 home wins are the most by an FBS team since the 2006 season. Wisconsin has won 17 consecutive games at Camp Randall Stadium, dating back to a 20-10 loss to Iowa on Oct. 17, 2009. That streak includes back-to-back undefeated home seasons in 2010 and 2011. During its 17-game home win streak, Wisconsin has an average winning margin of 33.5 points.

During UW's 17-game home win streak, the Badgers have scored an average of 47.6 points per game while holding opponents to an average of 14.1. Although Wisconsin is favored by 14 points, I don't expect it to be that easy. Utah State is a good team and they will test the Badgers in ways Northern Iowa and Oregon State didn't.

The practices have been upbeat all week, but that doesn't mean the Badgers are going to suddenly return to what they've been the last two years. It's going to be a progress, which I think UW starts to make Saturday. Night games at Camp Randall bring extra energy, which should give the offense enough of a lift to put up enough points to bypass a tough Aggies squad.

Wisconsin 27, Utah State 17

Worgull's Predictions

Straight up: 1-1

Against the Spread: 0-1

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