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Wisconsin Football Keys to Victory vs. Rutgers

Here are the Wisconsin football team’s keys to victory vs. Rutgers on Saturday.



Wisconsin football; Badgers running backs
Sep 16, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running backs warm up prior to the game against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Only a few days remain until Wisconsin Football returns to the field. After a bye week last week, the Badgers will host the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at home on Saturday. Kick-off is scheduled for 11 AM CST on Peacock.

It won’t be an easy game for the Badgers. Rutgers enters this game 4-1 and defeating two power five teams already in Northwestern and Virginia Tech.

Here are my keys to victory for Wisconsin Football on Saturday.

Wisconsin Football Key to Victory #1- Establish an RB2

Wisconsin football; Badgers running back Jackson Acker

Nov 6, 2021; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Jackson Acker (34) carries the ball as Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive back Christian Izien (0) pursues during the second half at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The loss of running back Chez Mellusi to a season ending injury against Purdue hurts this Wisconsin Football team. The duo of him and Braelon Allen was going to be a clear strength of this team. With Mellusi out for the season, all eyes are on Jackson Acker and Cade Yacamelli to carry the RB2 load.

Acker has seen some playing time this season. However, it has usually been in mop up duty. He’s got a body similar to Braelon Allen after converting from fullback. I would expect Acker to get the first crack on Saturday.

We have not seen Cade Yacamelli yet this season, but he’s a very good athlete. He converted to running back this year and had had some nice moments in both spring fall practices. It will be interesting to see what his work load will be.

Wisconsin Football Key to Victory #2- Keep Gavin Wimsatt in the Pocket

Wisconsin football; Badgers head coach Luke Fickell talking to the defense

Sep 2, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell talks in a huddle during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bulls at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

A dual threat quarterback can make life hard for a defensive coordinator at the college level. While Wimsatt has only ran for 187 yards, he’s recorded four touchdowns. He will be a threat at the goal line as well.

It’s important the Wisconsin Football defense generate enough pressure to keep Wimsatt in the pocket. He’s only completed 54% of his passes so far this season. Adding pressure doesn’t help that number either. It’s been a struggle for the Wisconsin front seven to get to the quarterback so far this season. I believe they have to on Saturday.

Wisconsin Football Key to Victory #3- A Big Game From Maema Njongmeta

Wisconsin football; Badgers inside linebacker Maema Njongmeta.

Sep 2, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Maema Njongmeta (55) during the game against the Buffalo Bulls at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Maema Njongmeta only played one snap against Purdue and was healthy for the game. That might be the most shocking story line we will see this year. Luke Fickell and Njongmeta stated it had to do with what Purdue was doing and they felt Jordan Turner and Jake Chaney were better suited for the role that game.

You better believe Njongmeta had to take that personal and is looking to have a monster game. I disagree with the decision two weeks ago. Njongmeta is an NFL-caliber linebacker and one of the best players on this Wisconsin Football team. Unless he’s injured, I don’t see a reason why he should be on the sidelines. I hope Maema Njongmeta has a big game Saturday and I think we will get it.

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Dylan began as a staff writer for Badger Notes in August 2023. He has written about Wisconsin Badger Football and Men's Basketball since May 2020. Dylan's work has been featured on Yard Barker, NewsBreak, and Bleacher Reports