The Wisconsin Badgers close out their home portion of the regular season this Saturday. They welcome the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Badger control their own destiny in the Big Ten West. It’s this simple: they need to win this game. Here are three keys to a win Saturday.
Contain Adrian Martinez
On offense, the Cornhuskers go as far as Adrian Martinez takes them. The senior quarterback has had an up and down career in Lincoln. At one point in his sophomore season, he was considered a favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.
Turnovers have been the Achilles heel for Martinez. While he leads the team in passing and rushing, he has thrown eight interceptions and has fumbled quite a bit as well. The talent is certainly there. If he doesn’t have self-inflicted wounds, which have lost Nebraska multiple games this year, this is going to be a tough test. Senior wide receiver Samori Toure is a really good receiver. The Badgers need to keep him in check as well.
The Badger defense needs to confuse Martinez and make him take risks. If you take risks and low percentage lows, the greater the chance for a turnover. Wisconsin should take of business if they force multiple turnovers despite Martinez having the ability to beat them with his arm and legs.
Don’t Fix What Isn’t Broken
What was worked in this six game winning streak? Defense, running the ball, and taking your quarterback out of dangerous situations. As a result, Graham Mertz is playing better, he’s making fewer questionable throws, and they are winning on both sides of the ball.
The Cornhuskers have two good defenders in cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt and JoJo Domann. Both players are veterans and have the ability to steal momentum. While Nebraska is 3-7, they’re better than what their record shows. They are also coming off a bye week. The Badger need to stick to what is working. If they do that, they’ll be fine.
No Let Down
The Badgers can’t have a let down game. While they control their own destiny, Iowa can take that away if they can beat an average at best Illinois team. The Paul Bunyan Ax game next weekend is in the rear view mirror, but Wisconsin can’t look ahead to that until the Cornhuskers are out of time. They need to take care of business, whether it’s pretty or not.
With Nebraska coming off a bye and their bowl season in jeopardy, they don’t have much to lose. They want to send their seniors out with a big win. They also have the chance to play spoiler next week against Iowa. Yes, we can hate Nebraska Saturday, but we need to be their biggest fans next week. If the Badgers stay disciplined and stick to what they do best, they should come out with a win.
If I’m Wisconsin, I would be very careful with this game. The emotions will be high with Senior day and the opportunity to win the Big Ten West against your arch rival in the background. It would be really easy for Wisconsin to overlook this team. However, they can’t. Nebraska is one of the better overall offenses in the Big Ten. Their offense can score points. With nothing to lose, those are the games that worry me the most.
I do like the attitude and swag Wisconisn is playing with. There is no doubt they are the best team in the Big Ten West. They have made that clear the last month. This veteran team knows what it takes to get it done, They’ve been in this situation before. I have to take the experience here against the Cornhuskers.
Wisconsin- 24 Nebraska- 14