College Football Game of the Week: Indiana vs. Wisconsin
As this wacky and wild 2020 season nears the end, teams are beginning to put the final touches on making their cases for the playoffs and bowl games.
No. 12 Indiana (5-1) will travel to Madison for a clash with No. 16 Wisconsin (2-1) on Dec. 5 at 3:30 p.m. on ABC.
Indiana still has a chance to make the Big Ten championship game because of Ohio State being one more cancellation away from being under the minimum number of games played to be eligible.
Wisconsin, on the other hand, has had four games cancelled and will not be eligible for the Big Ten championship game.
In last week’s 27-11 win over Maryland, the Hoosiers lost quarterback Michael Penix Jr. for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL and Utah transfer Jack Tuttle will take his place.
Tuttle completed five passes on five attempts for 31 yards in limited action against the Terrapins last weekend.
Stevie Scott Jr. is the leader of the Indiana backfield as he has been able to pick up 405 hard earned yards on 119 carries to go along with eight rushing touchdowns.
Indiana also has one of the top wide receivers in the conference with Ty Fryfogle. In six games, Fryfogle has 33 receptions for 652 yards and seven scores along with two 200-plus yard performances against Michigan State and Ohio State.
Whop Philyor, Miles Marshall and Peyton Hendershot also gave Penix Jr some reliable options as the trio has combined for six touchdowns and 767 yards.
On defense, Tom Allen’s team is led by hard-hitting linebacker Micah McFadden and ball-hawking defensive backs.
McFadden leads all Hoosiers in tackles with 43 and three defensive backs have three interceptions each.
Tiawan Mullen, Jamar Johnson and Jaylin Williams are those three players and they all have the ability of changing the tide of a game at any moment.
The Badgers still have an outside chance at a New Year’s Six bowl game despite the cancellations, but that seems unlikely.
Graham Mertz has proven, however, that he is one of the rising young stars in college football.
He has completed 55 passes on 84 attempts for 605 yards with eight touchdowns and three interceptions.
Wisconsin’s backfield has two 100-plus yard rushers in Jalen Berger and Nakia Watson as the two have rushed for 180 and 153 yards respectively, combining for three scores.
Tight end Jake Ferguson is the lone Wisconsin receiver with over 100 yards receiving as his 18 receptions for 181 yards and four touchdowns place him atop those three categories.
Jack Sanborn has been Wisconsin’s best defensive player with 20 total tackles and one sack.
Jim Leonhard’s defense, though it has only played in just three games, is one of the top units in the nation allowing point totals of 14, 11 and 17.
This matchup between the Badgers and Hoosiers is sure to be a good one as both teams will leave it all out on the field this Saturday.
Indiana hasn’t beaten Wisconsin since 2001, and if Penix Jr were playing, the Hoosiers would have a strong chance of coming out on top.
However, that loss will allow Wisconsin to stop the run and force the Hoosiers into obvious passing downs with an inexperienced quarterback.
Expect Wisconsin to run the ball down the throats of the Indiana defense and come out on top in a game that will give old-time football fans something to enjoy on a late fall afternoon.
Prediction: Wisconsin 27, Indiana 19
Christopher Hess is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.