Badger Nation's Five Keys against Penn State

Badger Nation Publisher Benjamin Worgull gives his five keys to Saturday's primetime match up against the sixth-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions.

Key Number One: The Evridge Response

After Wisconsin's second straight loss, Bielema said Monday that the coaching staff was going to evaluate each position and see where UW can get better. Throughout the whole declaration, however, the only person Bielema directly referenced was Allan Evridge and how the senior quarterback needs to play better.

Evridge was withheld from the media this week so, according to Bielema, he can focus on the Nittany Lions and what he needs to do to prepare. Evridge's struggles the past two games have been well documented by Badger Nation and the rest of the Wisconsin media, so it will be interesting to see how the quarterback does, especially against the best defense in the nation.

Key Number Two: Wisconsin's defense against Spread HD and Daryll Clark

High definition offense is what the Penn State Nittany Lions bring to Madison, as quarterback coach Jay Paterno is using a combination of west coast passing and spread-option running to give Big Ten opponents headaches. Junior quarterback Daryll Clark leads the Big Ten with a 162.5 pass efficiency rating, has completed 64.5 percent of his passes (80 of 124), has thrown for 1,116 yards and has nine touchdowns to only one interception. He will need to be contained if the Badgers are going to have a chance.

Key Number Three: Running the Rock

The silver lining offensively for the last two losses has been John Clay, especially against Ohio State. After only three carries against Michigan, Clay had 10 carries for 69 yards against the Buckeyes and has cemented himself as the Badgers No.2 tailback.

P.J. Hill has struggled since the Badgers beat Akron. The junior tailback is averaging less than four yards per carry and doesn't have a rush longer than 14 yards since the season opener.

Wisconsin used both Clay and Hill in a two-back set early in the second half against Ohio State, a look that seemed to give the Buckeyes some match up problems. With Penn State being the top rushing defense in the conference (80.2 yards per game, 2.5 yards per carry), the Badgers will need to come up with some tricks to find some running room.

Key Number Four: Inside the 20

One of the subplots of Saturday's game that could determine the victor is how each team performs in the red zone. The Nittany Lions have converted 31 of 33 opportunities (94 percent) inside the 20-yard line, registering 25 touchdowns and six field goals. Wisconsin on the other hand has converted only 19 of 24 chances (79 percent) and has committed a plethora of turnovers and wasted opportunities.

Defensively, Wisconsin ranks last in the conference in red zone defense, but have allowed opponents only 11 red zone opportunities, which have gone for six touchdowns and four field goals.

Key Number Five: Oglesby into the Fire

The status of Gabe Carimi has been questionable all week and most likely will be a game-time decision if he suits up on Saturday. If he doesn't start, it will break Carimi's streak of 18-consecutive starts at left tackle. In his place, however, will be the highly-rated recruit Josh Oglesby, who stepped in during the second half for Carimi against the Buckeyes and held his own.

This week against Nittany Lion ends Aaron Maybin (seven sacks) and Josh Gaines (3½ sacks), Oglesby's youthful skills will be put to the test.


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