Wisconsin vs. Northwestern fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, October 27
Game Time: 12:00 ET
Venue: Ryan Field, Evanston, IL
Wisconsin (5-2) vs. Northwestern (4-3) Game Preview
One Reason Why Wisconsin Will Win
Northwestern is as one-dimensional as a team can be right now – at least one that’s not attempting to be one-dimensional.
Oh sure, there were 128 yards on the ground against Rutgers, but there was absolutely no push for a running attack that averaged just 2.7 yards per carry. That was the first time since the opener against Purdue that the Cats have hit the 100-yard rushing mark.
Yes, Wisconsin has a big, big problem in the secondary right now, but its issue is with mobile passers who can keep plays alive in an RPO. That’s not Clayton Thorson.
And yes, the Northwestern run defense has been strong. But that’s because it hasn’t faced too many teams that can run with any power – Michigan is about it. The Wolverines were able to pound away just enough, and Purdue was able to get creative in the opener, taking off for 202 yards.
Wisconsin is No. 1 in the nation in fewest tackles for loss allowed, and Northwestern is dead last in the Big Ten in tackles for loss.
Give QB Alex Hornibrook time, and he’s actually very, very good, but he has to be okay. He’s going through the concussion protocol, but no matter what, it’ll be the pop and power of the deep Badger backfield – and with a few jet sweeps thrown in – that will be an issue for the Wildcat defensive front.
One Reason Why Northwestern Will Win
Okay, Clayton Thorson. Go off.
He’s not going to run, and he’ll be held in the pocket, but the Badger pass rush is more timely than consistently effective. If he gets time, he should be able to consistently riddle the struggling and banged up Wisconsin secondary.
Yeah, the Badgers didn’t give up too much against Michigan, and it stopped Illinois cold, but Nebraska’s Adrian Martinez fired at will for over 400 yards, and Iowa’s Nate Stanley bombed away deep.
Thorson was off against Rutgers, but he threw for over 800 yards with six touchdowns in combined wins over Michigan State and Nebraska.
Last season, he threw three touchdown passes in the loss to the Badgers, and he pushed the ball deep at times with 277 yards in the 21-7 loss in 2016.
He has to be amazing.
What’s Going To Happen
Here’s your shot, Northwestern.
At 4-1 in conference play and on top of the West, it has a shot to make a huge move in the division race by beating the Badgers for the third time in five years.
But … no.
There might be a mystical thing happening at times with the Wildcats in Evanston, and they might be on a winning streak, but they’re about to get hammered by the Badger offensive front. The biggest shocker, though, will be Hornibrook.
He’ll pick apart the Northwestern secondary on key third down plays, Jonathan Taylor will hit 100 yards again, and Thorson won’t be able to rally back late.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Wisconsin 26, Northwestern 17
Line: Wisconsin -4.5, o/u: 51
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3
Must See Rating: 3.5
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