West Virginia projected starters Wisconsin projected starters
QB Rasheed Marshall DE Erasmus James
WR Travis Garvin DT Anttaj Hawthorne
WR Miquelle Henderson DT Jason Jefferson
WR John Pennington DE Jonathan Welsh
RB Quincy Wilson LB Kareem Timbers
LT Jeff Berk LB Jeff Mack
C Ben Timmons CB Scott Starks
RG Geoff Lewis SS Ryan Aiello
RT Garin Justice FS Jim Leonhard
TE Tory Johnson CB Brett Bell
When the Mountaineers have the ball…
West Virginia will spread the field, opening up the passing game and the running game. The Mountaineers were one of very best running teams in the country last season and despite breaking in four new starters on the offensive line and a new tailback, the running game will still be in full effect. Senior Quincy Wilson gained 901 yards last season as a reserve and has a career average of 6.4 yards per carry. The show, though, belongs to quarterback Rasheed Marshall, a difference maker who can beat you with his legs or his arm.
Marshall may have to scramble quite a bit Saturday behind a revamped offensive line. West Virginia was dealt a huge blow when right tackle Tim Brown, one of only two returning starters on the line, went down with a season-ending injury earlier this week. Without Brown in the lineup Garin Justice and Josh Stewart are expected to share snaps at right tackle. How well the line plays will have a huge bearing on West Virginia's offensive effectiveness.
Wisconsin's focus since their Alamo Bowl victory has been on keeping the momentum. Defensively that means maintaining the extremely physical play they put on display against Colorado. West Virginia will certainly return the favor, so expect some huge collisions Saturday.
West Virginia's receivers are a mostly inexperienced bunch, but they will come in droves, allowing the pass catchers to stay fresh. This will challenge the Badgers defense, which is likely to spend much of Saturday afternoon in its nickel package, meaning defensive backs Robert Brooks and Joe Stellmacher and linebacker LaMarr Watkins will be called on plenty.
The Badgers key, of course, will be containing Marshall. They must get a solid pass rush, especially considering the fluctuations on West Virginia's line. Containing Rasheed Marshall, though, is an 11-man effort. The back seven will have to cover the spread well while keeping a close eye on Marshall lest he break contain and tuck it away.