Keys to the Game

With Allan Evridge taking off the headset and making his first start as a Badger in Wisconsin's season opener, Badgermaniac looks at the five keys to tomorrow's contest against Akron.

Badgermaniac's Keys to the Game vs. Akron

1. QB Consistency

Early season games are sometimes hard to analyze as teams have yet to define themselves. However, whenever a team features a new starting QB, it is something that bears watching. Last year, there were questions about Tyler Donovan's ability to carry the load, and he responded with surprisingly consistent play. With a strong OL expected to lead PJ Hill and a strong running game against a presumably inferior opponent, the burden should be manageable for new starter, Allan Evridge. However, he must prove that he can be consistent with his decision making as well as his accuracy, both of which are question marks at this point.

2. Roll Call

Who exactly will see the field and how healthy they will be is still a wait and see issue. Players such as Travis Beckum, Jonathan Casillas, Chris Pressley, Aaron Henry, John Clay, Jason Chapman, Dan Moore, Matt Shaughnessey, O'Brien Schofield, Kirk DeCremer and Allen Langford are all players who are either hurt or are recovering from long term injuries. Who plays how much and how well remains to be seen.

3. Testing the Edges

Barring injury issues, Wisconsin looks solid in the front seven. Their safety crew also returns from an erratic year, but presumably better with a year of experience. However, questions remain at corner for the Badgers. Aaron Henry is out while Langford struggled at times and is coming off knee surgery. Mario Goins and Niles Brinkley are untested, but may hold the key to how good this defense could be.

4. Home Field Dominance

The Badgers have won 16 straight non-conference games (regular season) and since 1995, has lost only twice at home to non-conference opponents. Akron does not look to be a strong opponent, so look for that streak to tack on another game.

5. Ground Chuck

Wisconsin's huge and experience offensive line leads PJ Hill and Zach Brown against a defense that returns only 4 starters and plays a front with only 3 defensive linemen. Look for Akron to try to use movement since they cannot match Wisconsin player for player up front. This could open some gaps if blocked well, leading to a big day on the ground.

Badgermaniac's Prediction

There are some questions about this Badger team that limit our ability to see whether we are looking at an 8 win team or a 10 or 11 win team. However, barring a disappointing performance, this game should not provide us with a lot of answers, as Akron looks to be a weaker MAC team on paper. I think Chryst and Bielema play it safe to a degree and look to pound the ball, thus keeping the score down a bit, but the Badgers will gradually pull away, 38-10.

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