Breakdown: Indiana at No.17 Wisconsin

With a defense led by seniors Chris Borland and Dezmen Southward, No.17 Wisconsin looks to shutdown a high-powered Indiana offense and make it nine straight wins in the series over the Hoosiers. Badger Nation looks at the Hoosiers and the impact of Southward.

Indiana (4-5, 2-3 Big Ten) vs. No.17 Wisconsin (7-2, 4-1 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Saturday, November 15 at 11 a.m. CT

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

Television –ESPN2 (Bob Wischusen, Rod Gilmore, Quint Kessenich)

Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas), Sirius 135, XM 196

Series –Wisconsin leads series 39-18-2 (Wisconsin leads 22-8-1 in Madison)

Last Meeting – Wisconsin won, 62-14, on Nov.10, 2012 in Bloomington, Ind.

Last week's Badger Nation game coverage

Last meeting's Badger Nation game coverage

Series Notes

The Badgers are in search of a ninth-consecutive win over Indiana, which hasn't claimed a win in the series since 2002 and hasn't won in Madison since 2001.

During the Badgers' eight-game win streak over Indiana – which dates back to 2002 — UW has averaged 52.0 points per game while holding the Hoosiers to an average of 16.6. Wisconsin's average margin of victory during the streak is 35.4 points per game.

UW has topped 50 points in five of its last seven games vs. Indiana.

In its eight-game win streak, Wisconsin has rushed for an average of 320.0 yards per game vs. the Hoosiers.

The Badgers posted a school-record 564 rushing yards in last year's meeting in Bloomington — the third-highest rushing output by a Big Ten team in the modern era.

Wisconsin has gained 600 yards of total offense in a game 16 times, with four of those performances coming against Indiana. UW had 605 total yards vs. the Hoosiers in 2012.

Wisconsin Notes

Wisconsin seeks its fifth Big Ten win, which would give the Badgers their 13th season with at least five league wins in the last 21 years (since 1993). The Badgers had 12 five-win seasons in the first 97 years of the conference's existence.

In three career games vs. Indiana, White has rushed for an average of 130.7 yards per game — including a 161-yard effort in 2012 and 144-yard performance in 2010 — and scored five rushing touchdowns. He has averaged 8.5 yards per attempt vs. the Hoosiers.

Wisconsin's efficient offense has averaged 7.05 yards per play this season, the eighth- best average in the nation and the best by a Big Ten team. Baylor leads all FBS teams at 8.62 yards per play.

Wisconsin ranks No. 8 nationally in opponent third-down conversion percentage at 30.2%. Michigan State leads the nation, allowing opponents to convert at a rate of just 26.1 percent.

Since the start of the 2010 season, no team has valued possession of the ball bet- ter than the Badgers. UW leads all FBS programs with just 42 turnovers over the course of the last four seasons.

Indiana Notes

Indiana's 52 touchdowns are a school single-season record, surpassing the 50 scored in 1988 and 2007.

Indiana has the third fewest three-and-outs in the country, doing so just 20 times in 132 drives (15.2 percent).

The Hoosiers have forced 14 turnovers (eight fumbles) and converted them into 70 points this season.

Sophomore Nate Sudfeld tops the Big Ten in passing touchdowns (19, T-20th nationally), is second in points responsible for (120, 29th), is third in yards per completion (13.7, 21st) and completions per game (17.7), is fourth in passing yards (2,182), passing yards per game (242.4), total offense (2,182), total offense per game (241.3), completions (159) and completion percentage (61.6), and is fifth in passing efficiency (150.8, 25th).

Indiana is averaging 5.7 plays in 1:36 while covering 60.0 yards on its 59 scoring drives (51 TDs). The Hoosiers have seven (7 TDs) scoring drives under 30 seconds, 12 (11 TDs) under 45 seconds, 20 (19 TDs) under 60 seconds, 27 (26 TDs) under 75 seconds and 37 (34 TDs) under 90 seconds.


With a defensive front seven chalked full of seniors and experience heading into the 2013 football season, it was natural to point at the secondary and wonder if the group could keep up. It's well known that Wisconsin was losing three senior starters off its Rose Bowl team from a year ago, but wasn't well known was who would be filling in the gaps next to Dezmen Southward.

Wisconsin fans certainly know about those players now, and that's a credit to the work Southward has put in with the unit.

"Dez has been huge," said senior linebacker Chris Borland. "He's been really selfless, too. As we put in the game plan, it's been increasing, ‘Hey, let's put Dez on the deep threats and the jump-ball-type guys.' Dez doesn't show up in the stat book, but it's so meaningful for our defense. It's a testament to how much of a leader he is."

While getting a boost from the pressure creating from Wisconsin's front seven, the secondary has held its own through nine games. Wisconsin ranks seventh nationally, and second in the conference, in pass efficiency defense at 102.20.

Giving up just 5.6 yards per passing attempt, Wisconsin has allowed only 21 pass plays of 20 yards or more, a number that shrinks to only three over the past two weeks.

That's a credit to the development of guys like Michael Caputo, Nate Hammon and Tanner McEvoy at the safety position. Caputo delivered 12 tackles in the win over BYU; Hammon played 47 plays against the Cougars and wasn't responsible for a wide receiver catches and McEvoy – a converted quarterback – registered his first collegiate interception and has thrived over the past five games.

"The work they put in during the week, it obviously translates into good things on Saturdays," said Southward. "They make it a lot easier."

When first arriving at Wisconsin, Southward had one year of organized football experience, but a ton of speed and upside. Processing himself as the veteran of the group seemed bizarre, but the work he's put in would suggest that his football IQ has grown exponentially.

Southward's numbers are down this season (69 tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss in 2012 to 28 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss through nine games this season), but take one look at the senior's role in the defense and it's evident how valuable he is. Instead of playing a true safety spot, Southward has bounced from safety to nickel corner to a true cornerback on the line of scrimmage, his role last week against stout BYU receiver Cody Hoffman.

"It was different, definitely, something I have never done before at any level," Southward said. "There will be some adjusting, but I felt like I was able to challenge him for the greater part of the game. Obviously I gave up some plays that I would like to have back. It's tough because you don't get as much technique work when you are bouncing around."

Southward downplayed the fact that the Arizona State and Ohio State lit a fire under the secondary. Dropping to 4-2 on the season following the loss in Columbus, the Badgers secondary had allowed 11 pass plays of 20 yards or more, three of which went for first-half touchdowns against the Buckeyes.

In the four games since, Wisconsin has allowed only 10 plays over 20 yards, and just three over the past two weeks.

"Every game should light a fire under you," said Southward. "If it did, then you are playing the wrong spot. Every week should light a fire under you."

The fire should be burning bright this week against an Indiana offense that is one of the top passing attacks in the conference. Led by a quarterback (Nate Sudfeld) who has thrown for over 2,000 yards and 19 touchdowns, Indiana has four players who have reached 100 catches and 1,000 yards (Cody Latimer, Kofi Hughes, Shane Wynn and Ted Bolser) while Duwyce Wilson is 19 catches away from joining that group.

But combine Wisconsin's talented running game and the play of the defense, thanks in part to Southward, over the last several weeks, the Badgers opened as an 18.5-point favorite to make it nine in a row over the Hoosiers.

"I'm happy with the way I've played, and I can say that I can do some different things to show I can play more than one position," said Southward. "I can cover, I am pretty versatile and a lot of safeties in the nation can't say that do that. By doing that, I allow our defense to do different things and I hope that translate to wins. I don't mind giving up a few tackles to show that I can do a lot of different things."

The point spread jumped almost a touchdown – sitting now at 25 – when it was announced that tailback Tevin Coleman – the conference's reigning offensive player of the week – will likely miss the game with an ankle injury. It shouldn't matter.

Wisconsin 52, Indiana 24

Worgull's Predictions

Straight up: 8-1*

Against the Spread: 7-1-1

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