On to Indiana.
There are few things that will prevent a Badgers victory this Saturday. Indiana enters the game having lost three of its last four conference games, giving up an average of 47 points a game in those losses. IU's wins this season have come against a bad Illinois team, Indiana State, Bowling Green and Penn State at home. (PSU is a very different squad away from Happy Valley in 2013). Indiana ranks 114th in points allowed.
Of our Five Keys to Victory the first says it all.
1,Wanting to win
Match ups and talent are extremely lopsided; meaning only a very unfocused effort by the Badgers would allow the Hoosiers to hang around in this game. It is difficult to measure psychological motivation, but if you witnessed the Badgers defense getting fired up during very long TV timeouts against BYU, then there can be no doubt about the mental focus for each game. The flip side of the coin isn't very positive for Indiana. Playing on the road in possibly rainy conditions against a team that can score quickly might lead to a few lapses.
BadgerNation tries to keep the focus on physical and statistical match ups, but they are so one-sided for this game that only bizarre circumstances could derail a Badgers victory (Even Vegas has made Indiana an even greater underdog as the week has moved on). Rainy conditions might cause turnovers but since Indiana relies more on the passing game and Wisconsin more on the running game, conditions again favor the Badgers.
3, One More Fresh Defensive Look
BYU QB Taysom Hill amentioned in the post game press conference that UW showed linebacker alignments that he had not seen on film for the 2013 Badgers. It means that even in the ninth game of the season, UW defensive coordinator Dave Aranda is still coming up with fresh tweaks to his blitzing, stunting, high-energy, man-to-man defense. This bodes well as Indiana comes to town. UW has much more talent on defense than Indiana has on offense. Trying to keep Badgers safeties and linebackers out of the backfield will be a tall order. Key Matchup: Hoosier TE Ted Bosler against the Badger strong side linebackers and safeties.
4, Lots of Time for Stave
The Hoosiers leader in both tackles for loss and in QB sacks is defensive end John Laihinen. Mobile linebackers from Iowa, Northwestern and BYU could not get to quarterback Joel Stave, it will be an even tougher assignment for a defensive end. Key matchup: Laihinen versus UW left tackle Tyler Marz and tight end support.
5, Breaking Away
Indiana's defensive backfield has frequently demonstrated poor technique when tackling. This has been exemplified by a 60-yard TD run surrendered to Minnesota, a 40-yarder to Michigan State and another 40-yarder to Missouri. Expect James White, Melvin Gordon or Corey Clement (perhaps all three) to hit for long single runs.
Final Prediction: Though we have been fairly close in our scores, when BadgerNation is least accurate is when we underestimate the defense. We won't do that again this week. UW will face some talented IU players in QB Nate Sudfeld and WR Cody Latimer, but there isn't much depth and the supporting cast is poor. UW steam rolls Indiana, 63-17.