Badgermaniac's Keys to the Game

Badgermaniac breaks down the Badgers' matchup against the Thundering Herd of Marshall.

1. A Sterner Test

The Herd defense was solid against the run in week one, allowing just 2.45 yards per carry after struggling last year. They feature the return of star defensive end Albert McClellan and are much stouter at the point of attack. However, as we know, there is a HUGE difference between Illinois State and Wisconsin. The Badgers may not run for 400 yards again this week, but I don't see any reason why they will not have a very strong game on the ground.

2. C.J. Spillman In the Box

Spillman is the Marshall free safety and a pretty good player. He is very active in the run game and will almost assuredly be a key factor in the box as Marshall struggled against the run. He would be a nice matchup with Travis Beckum, provided that Beckum plays this week.

3. Rattling the Newbie

Marshall QB Mark Cann is a redshirt freshman coming off a decent but unspectacular performance in his first start. He reportedly has a pretty big arm and Marshall would like to push the tempo on offense. The Badgers will need to put some more hits on the QB than they did last week in order to protect a secondary that was shaky at times against Akron.

4. Cleaning up in the Red Zone

I don't think anyone believes that this will be an exotic Badger team. If they are going to have a top notch season, they are going to need to be efficient and consistent, something we did not see last week with numerous key mistakes. Coach Bielema is a believer in the "second game theory" with regards to improvement, so hopefully the Badgers play a more consistent 60 minutes.

5. Darius Marshall vs. Jae McFadden

Marshall is a smallish but shifty tailback for Marshall. While Marshall probably won't try to bang with the Badgers, look for them to use the running game on draw type action in order to keep their down-distance situations manageable. These are the types of opponents that caused the staff to go to McFadden in the starting lineup and he will play a key part in controlling the middle of the defense.

Badgermaniac's Prediction

I expect a similar game to last week. Marshall has a veteran team and should be an upgrade over Akron and wouldn't be surprised to see them hang around in much the same way that the Zips did. However, it sounds like a broken record but the Badger offensive line is just too good and I expect another big game from the Badger backs. Final score: Wisconsin 35-Marshall 13.

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