Maryland facing tall task of containing Corey Clement
Who: Wisconsin vs. Maryland
When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Byrd Stadium, Maryland
TV: Big Ten Network
Spread: Wisconsin -12
Matchup to watch: Perry Hills vs. Badger linebackers
Say what you want about Hills throwing the ball. Running it, he’s been dominant. The Maryland signal-caller has three straight games of 100-plus yards on the ground. That streak was supposed to end against the No. 3-ranked Iowa defense last week. Maybe it’ll come to an end against a Wisconsin defense that allowed positive rushing yards to a quarterback once this season. That one occasion was to the mobile C.J. Beathard, who still only racked up 12 yards and was sacked four times. Vince Biegel, T.J. Edwards, Chris Orr and Joe Schobert have been as good as any unit in the country. Part of what’s made them so successful is that they don’t miss tackles. Hills thrives at getting downhill in a hurry and attacking the second level. Something tells me that won’t be so easy against the Badgers.
Thing I’m excited to see: Corey Clement without restrictions
It was obvious that Paul Chryst had Clement on some sort of a snap count last week in his first game back in two months. He didn’t even start. Amazingly, he still scored three touchdowns — it should’ve been four if he wasn’t still hampered at the end of a 58-yard run — on just 11 carries. With a game under his belt, we should see that number increase. I don’t think Dare Ogunbowale out-touches Clement unless garbage time is the entire fourth quarter. He’s clearly the Badgers top big-play threat and as long as he’s healthy, he should see 15-20 touches against a Maryland defense that ranks 99th in scoring.
Number to remember: 8
That’s how many points per game the Badger defense allowed since the opening loss to Alabama. I already talked about how good the Wisconsin linebackers have been, but Michael Caputo, Tanner McEvoy, Darius Hillary and Sojourn Shelton are a big part of why the Badgers are the best scoring defense in the country. What does that mean for Maryland? Long, sustained drives aren’t likely. Opportunities will be few and far between. Big plays — however they come — are required. A Will Likely special teams touchdown would certainly go a long way. It wouldn’t be a bad time for Levern Jacobs’ six-game touchdown drought to come to an end, either.
Prediction: Wisconsin 31, Maryland 10
I know Badger fans are rightfully concerned about Joel Stave. But with the way this defense is playing, Stave doesn’t have to be perfect. He also doesn’t have to throw the ball 40 times with Clement back in the picture. Wisconsin has the formula for November success in the B1G that should travel well. I don’t think we see Hills run wild this week, either. Ultimately, that leads to Maryland putting itself in obvious throwing situations. We know what usually follows when that happens.