Similarily Special

Rushing for 1,162 yards and 12 touchdowns on the year, Tennessee running back Arian Foster is a special kind of running back. Good thing the Badgers have seen his type before.

TAMPA, Fla. - The University of Wisconsin football team has seen this kind of running back before.

Big and bruising at 6-foot-1, 225 pounds, yet deceptively quick with a 40-yard dash time of 4.58 seconds, Tennessee's Arian Foster is the typical Big Ten running back.

"He looks good; I'm not going to lie," said UW linebacker Jonathan Casillas, who compared him to Ohio State's Chris Wells. "He looks like a big, strong, physical back."

But despite their familiarity with backs like him, the Badgers are no more comfortable with defending against Foster in the Outback Bowl.

While quarterback Erik Ainge may be the face of the Volunteers' offense, Foster provides a steady balance and has caught the eye of the Badgers' defense on game film.

"He's a good cut back and bounce runner, he'll punch it up in there like it's nothing," Casillas said. "We've got to be very cautious and aware of where he's at, and if he gets the ball, we've got to get 11 guys to the ball."

As a redshirt junior, Foster has started every season for the Volunteers. But he's having his breakout year this season.

Foster's freshman year, he emerged as the starter due to an injury to Gerald Riggs, Jr. and gained 879 rushing yards in limited action. However, he went through a sophomore slump and was limited to only 322 total yards because of injuries.

This season, though, he's strut his stuff with 1,162 yards and 12 touchdowns on the year.

Wisconsin has taken notice.

Maybe more so than keeping an eye on Ainge and the Volunteers' passing game, the Badgers are well aware of Foster's game breaking abilities.

"The one thing he's able to do, to me, is he's able to accelerate in short distances," UW football coach Bret Bielema. "If he gets a little crease, he can get going pretty fast, but he's also got power—he's really a balanced kid."

And Foster is chomping at the bit to go against Wisconsin's defense. With the Badgers' defensive line banged up and two UW cornerbacks out, he figures he can take advantage of that in the Outback Bowl.

"You just try to exploit what their weaknesses are and play to our strengths," Foster said. "It is something you look at."

Part of his anticipation to try and rack up the yards against Wisconsin also comes from wanting to erase last year's memory of the Outback Bowl.

As the Volunteers lost to the Nittany State Lions 20-10 in last year's game, Foster had a costly fumble—one that was returned 88 yards for a touchdown to break a 10-10 tie early in the fourth quarter.

While Foster said the fumble haunted him for weeks following the loss, he's been using it as inspiration to come back with a better performance this time around.

"I made a decision — you can either go up or down, and I don't like down," Foster said. "I just took it and used it as a little motivation through my offseason training."

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