#11 Badgers Take On Austin Peay in One Final Tune-Up

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On Saturday, the Badgers welcome in the Governors of Austin Peay for one final tune-up before they hit the road for their Big Ten opener with the Michigan State Spartans. Through three games, the Badgers look great on paper at 3-0 with a #11 ranking in the polls. However,  the Badgers have struggled to impress in their wins over UNLV, San Jose St. and Arizona State, winning each game by an average  of only 11.3 points. Moreover, the team has been less than stellar on the defensive side of the ball and  to make matters worse, sophomore standout Chris Borland is out for the season after re-injuring his shoulder against ASU.

Maybe a game with a FCS opponent like Austin Peay is exactly what the Badgers need. This will be the fifth consecutive year that the Badgers face off with a FCS opponent, winning the last four by an average of 17.3 points.

By: Nick Grays

You may be asking yourself who are the Governors and most importantly where is Austin Peay? Clarksville, TN is the answer and the Governors are members of the Ohio Valley Conference. They are coming off a big 26-23 victory over Tennessee State to improve to 2-1 on the season. Last season’s leading rusher in the OVC, Ryan White (pictured above) scampered for a 63-yard touchdown in the 2nd quarter en route to a 112 yard day. Get used to White’s name as he will see the ball a lot this weekend and has already racked up 290 yards (7.4 yards per carry) and three touchdowns through three games.

Despite Austin Peay playing their first game against an opponent from a BCS conference, Badgers Head Coach Bret Bielema knows very well that any FCS team can sneak in a good game once in a while.

“I sat and watched Virginia Tech and Boise State play one heck of a football game, and then heard what happened to them. Obviously, we’ve had one here in our conference. Jacksonville State, I believe, is in the same conference as Austin Peay, and they took care of Mississippi. So there are things that are very real about this,” said Bielema.

The Badgers shouldn’t have a problem with Austin Peay if they stick to what they do well and that’s running the ball. John Clay and company rank 20th in the nation with 228 rushing yards per game. With 123 yards and a touchdown versus the Sun Devils, Clay eclipsed the 100 yard mark and scored a touchdown for his ninth straight game, the only active player in college football to do so.

The Governors are particularly inept at stopping the run which was evident on September 11th versus Middle Tennessee when they gave up 353 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground in a 56-33 loss.

Barring an Austin Peay miracle, the Badgers should be able to rest their starters by the second half. If this is the case, it could pay off dividends as the battle in East Lansing with the Spartans is shaping up as a good one. Not only does it mark the beginning of the Big Ten Season, but Michigan State is rolling after an unbelievable 34-31 overtime win over Notre Dame. They will also be playing with heavy hearts  for Head Coach Mark Dantonio who suffered an unexpected heart attack following the thriller versus Notre Dame.

Prediction: Wisconsin 44 Austin Peay 10

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