Why Wisconsin Will Win
– And now the Badger offensive front is rested. This was an energized team late in the season with the blowout win over Minnesota and great first half in the Big Ten Championship loss to Ohio State. This is when the running game has to take over from the start.
Jonathan Taylor is 91 yards away from a 2,000-yard season, the offense has rushed for 200 yards or more in nine games, and it has blasted away for three rushing scores or more eight times. The Oregon run D has been amazing – more on that in a moment – but …
– Wisconsin will seem like it has the ball all game long. Time of possession has never mattered all that much to Oregon, and it will certainly strike quickly, but no one controls the tempo of a game like the Badgers do – they lead the nation in time of possession.
They have the ability to hit the big play, too, but they’re much better when they’re grinding out drives, staying in bounds, keeping the clock moving, and then relying on the defense to get off the field in a hurry. Only Kansas State was better on third down defense, keeping everyone to 25% conversion rate or lower ver the first seven games, and 36% or lower against everyone but Ohio State in both losses and to Nebraska.
– Wisconsin lost the 2015 opener to an Alabama team that went on to win the national title. Since then, it’s 23-1 when throwing two or more touchdown passes, with the only defeat coming in last year’s blowout loss to Minnesota.
To take this even further, the program is 23-2 over the last 11 years when throwing three touchdown passes or more. Oregon has allowed two touchdown passes or more six times this season, including in the losses to Auburn and Arizona State. and allowed three scoring passes three times.
The goal might be to win on the ground, but when Jack Coan and the passing game works, forget it. The only two times all year he hit fewer than 60% of his passes were in the two losses to Ohio State, but he wasn’t awful in either game.