NU won 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-18) previous year on October 31 at Rutgers.
Entering this one both Wisconsin (6-2) and Rutgers (3-4) are unranked.
Third-year coordinator Dave Aranda runs a hybrid 3-4 defense, generally viewed as even stingier against downhill, smashmouth offenses.
In an ironic twist, the player who Barrett replaced under center, Cardale Jones, was the one to whom Barrett was released and gave a ride home. The Badgers are already bowl-eligible, a goal that Scarlet Knights would like to reach. There’s a chance Rutgers star receiver Leonte Carroo won’t play due to an ankle injury, which makes it even more hard to imagine the Knights generating enough scoring to make this a game.
“We are young, it’s a new team and I have asked them to embrace the process of trying to play together and understand that there are going to be a few hardships and missed plays because of not knowing each other”, Jordan said yesterday inside The RAC. “You want to know how that feels so it doesn’t happen again”.
QB CALL: Backup Bart Houston threw for 281 yards and three touchdowns, along with two interceptions, in leading Wisconsin to a win over Illinois after Stave got knocked out. Chryst, though, has extinguished any thoughts of a quarterback controversy in Madison.
“Joel is our starting quarterback”, Chryst said.
In many ways, it was symbolic of Rutgers’ brief tenure in the Big Ten – little competition on the field, but plenty of attention (and generated revenue) off the field.
While Rutgers’ final place in the regular season standings is to be determined, the Scarlet Knights have clinched a spot in the top seven, meaning they will be playing in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, bypassing the play-in game they took part in a year ago. This won’t bode well for Rutgers, who was completely embarrassed by the Badgers, 37-0, last season.
TRIPPED UP: Running on Wisconsin, though, can be though. A trio of running backs, Robert Martin (480 rushing yards), Josh Hicks (439 rushing yards) and Paul James (381 rushing yards), have each combined to make Rutgers the fifth most effective rushing attack in the Big Ten (185.6 rushing yards per game).
Carroo has 24 catches for 527 yards and nine touchdowns in five games this season. His injury, along with the constant reshuffling along the battered offensive line, has left the Badgers averaging an uncharacteristically-low 152.5 yards on the ground. “Recruits see the possibility and the potential of a good Big Ten team”. The Badgers have converted 53 percent of their third downs over the last two games; this after converting on just 39 percent over their first six.