Progressively better will be the encompassing theme and goal for Wisconsin football in the early part of their schedule.
This week’s opponent, Tennessee Tech, is better than UMass and #21 Wisconsin will have their minds set on preparing their selves for a huge showdown in the desert with Arizona State.
The Badgers better not look too far ahead though. FCS-schools notched seven wins against FBS schools this past weekend, highlighted by Eastern Washington knocking off then-ranked #25 Oregon State.
Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (1-0) Analysis: The Golden Eagles are coming off a 63-7 laugher over little Cumberland University. This FCS team runs an exciting spread offense and loves to run up the score with dynamic/dual-threat quarterback Darian Stone. Running back/return specialist Ladarius Vanlier is particularly electric as well. Last week, Vanlier rushed for a 52 yard touchdown and three minutes later returned a punt a school-record 93 yards for a touchdown. He was named the Ohio Valley Conference’s Co-Specialist of the Week for his 188 all-purpose yards on Saturday. The Badgers opponents last week ran a spread offense as well, but it was one that has a lot less talent than the Golden Eagles. Despite going 3-8 last year, Tennessee Tech has won two of the past three OVC titles.
Coach’s Quote of the Week: ““I just hope that isn’t the trend, because I think we’re all in this together. I just love to see the bigger schools keep helping us guys, because those few dollars that we get are very, very important to us.” – Watson Brown on eliminating FCS teams from FBS schedules.
#21 Wisconsin Badgers (1-0) Analysis: It wasn’t all perfect in the Badgers’ opening shutout of UMass. In fact, Joel Stave looked shaky as can be in the first half and it wasn’t until the second half when the sophomore starting quarterback was able to redeem himself and connect with Jared Abbrederis on a couple of deep touchdowns. The defense did force two turnovers, yet didn’t look overly aggressive because they don’t want to show too much before the premier opponents on their schedule. The 45-0 win can mostly be attributed to the trio of James White, Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement who combined for 388 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
Coach’s Quote of the Week: “You know, first of all, the mindset is it’s a tremendous opportunity. Once in a lifetime for these kids. They’re going to walk into this stadium one time, and they’re always going to be able to say they played at Camp Randall. What better for them to say they came into Camp Randall and played well and won.” - Gary Andersen on the mindset of FCS teams.
Brutally Honest Prediction: Wisconsin 48 Tennessee Tech 13
It’s been a lot of fun seeing FCS shock some top-level FBS schools, but I just don’t see it happening in this game. The Badgers aren’t bad against the rush and while Tennessee Tech’s quarterback helps UW prepare for the Buckeyes’ Braxton Miller, it doesn’t mean he is Miller. I do expect Tech to have a lot better odds on reaching the scoreboard because they have a couple electric players.
TV Coverage: 11:00 AM CT Big Ten Network; Kevin Kuglar (play-by-play) and Derek Rackley (analyst)
Betting Lines: Wisconsin favored (-45) with no over/under
2013 Record straight up: 1-0
2013 Record against the spread: 0-1
2013 Record in over/under: 0-1
*no over/under for Tennessee Tech game
What do you think of the Badgers match-up with the FCS’s Tennessee Tech? Let me know by commenting below.
Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He also enjoys sharing Fantasy Advice and pretends to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best. If social media is not your thing, shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Pictures obtained from Badgers Football Facebook Page and ttusports.com.