EVANSTON, ILLINOIS – OCTOBER 08: The Wisconsin Badgers huddle against the Northwestern Wildcats during the first half at Ryan Field on October 08, 2022 in Evanston, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Badgers vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers: What to watch for

The Wisconsin Badgers (5-5, 3-4 Big Ten) will take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-7, 2-5 Big Ten) on Saturday morning.

The Badgers are coming off a tough loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes, ending their hopes of taking the Big Ten West. The Hawkeyes’ defense shut down the Badgers’ offense, and now Wisconsin’s chances at making a bowl game are running out.

The Cornhuskers head into Saturday on a four-game losing streak. Nebraska has struggled throughout the season on the defensive end. Wisconsin needs a “get right game” on offense, and they have a good opportunity against a poor Cornhusker defense.

Here are some key items to watch in Saturday’s contest:

Will the Wisconsin Badgers get their rushing attack going after a poor showing?

The Badgers could not get anything going on the ground against the Hawkeyes. Wisconsin put up just 68 yards on the ground, a testament to Iowa’s standout defense. Now facing a subpar defense and the possibility of Chez Mellusi returning from injury, will the Badgers get it going on the ground?

Nebraska has allowed 192 rushing yards per game this season, ranking 107th in the country. Teams have exploited the Cornhusker defense on the ground as teams average 42 rushing attempts per game against Nebraska. The Cornhuskers struggle with stopping the run, an area where the Badgers excel.

After a poor showing against Iowa, Wisconsin should look to their running backs to have a productive day against Nebraska.

Can the Wisconsin Badgers shut down the Cornhuskers’ running backs?

The Cornhuskers are severely banged up this week. Nebraska is going into Saturday without their starting QB Casey Thompson, their backup Chubba Purdy, and their third-string quarterback Logan Smothers is dealing with an injury. With Nebraska’s signal callers dealing with injury, the focus will be put on their running backs.

The Badgers have excelled at stopping the run this season, as they currently rank as the 19th-best rushing defense in the country. With run stoppers like Maema Njongmeta and Keeanu Benton, the Badgers have the players to slow down what should be a run-heavy offense on Saturday.

The Cornhuskers are slim on quarterbacks, so be sure to watch how the Badgers contain Nebraska’s rushing attack.

Will the Wisconsin Badgers offensive line step up?

Wisconsin has proven to be a school with excellent offensive linemen. However, the 2022 season has been a tough one for the Badgers front.

Against Iowa last week, the offensive line allowed four sacks. In fairness, Iowa’s defense has been stout this year, and their pass rush has been one of the many bright spots. However, the subpar offensive line play has been somewhat unexpected.

Going into Saturday, the offensive line will have a chance to get right. Nebraska’s pass rush has been very poor this year, sacking the quarterback on just 4.56% of plays. That comes in at the 109th rank in the country.

After many struggles against opponents’ pass rush this year, the Badgers’ offensive front has a golden opportunity to get back on track.

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