Rutgers, Wisconsin battling key offensive injuries heading into Saturday
Who: Rutgers vs. Wisconsin
When: Saturday, 12 p.m. CT
Where: Camp Randall Stadium, Wisconsin
Spread: Wisconsin -20.5
TV: Big Ten Network
Matchup to watch: Kemoko Turay vs. Wisconsin’s pass protection
Wisconsin’s offensive line is back to looking like the beat-up unit that began the 2015 season. Center Dan Voltz, tackle Hayden Biegel and Ray Ball are all out for the season. Wisconsin is also still without tight end Austin Traylor because of an arm injury. Against Wisconsin’s depleted pass protection unit, the Scarlet Knights could have success getting to the quarterback. Turay hasn’t had the high sack totals we thought he would be this year, but this is exactly the type of mismatch he can exploit. Wisconsin will probably look to throw some increased protection on Turay, but with the Badgers also banged up at tailback, that might not even be enough.
Thing I’m excited to see: Stave’s bounce back
There are a whole lot of people in Wisconsin that don’t want to see Stave starting. After watching Bart Houston lead the Badgers in Stave’s absence last week, the calls for a change were louder than ever. Lucky for Stave, he doesn’t use social media. Also lucky for Stave, Paul Chryst doesn’t care what fans think. Assuming Stave doesn’t suffer a late-week setback, he’ll be back under center for the Badgers. This could easily turn into a monster game for Stave against a defense that allowed 50.5 points per game in the last two weeks. There’s a chance he’ll get Corey Clement back, which would take a lot of pressure off the senior. Either way, he and Alex Erickson could go off against a struggling Rutgers secondary.
Number to remember: 0.56
That’s the amount of touchdowns per quarter Leonte Carroo is averaging this year. When healthy, nobody in the B1G is a better playmaker on the outside. The issue, of course, is his health. Carroo was a game-time decision for the Ohio State game and still managed to catch three passes for 55 yards before being shelved in the second half. Again, Carroo will be a game-time decision. You can guarantee Dave Aranda is assuming Carroo will be healthy and at full strength. If he’s on the field, expect Aranda to keep Michael Caputo as a safety net so Carroo can’t take the top off of the Badger secondary.
Prediction: Wisconsin 35, Rutgers 17
Rutgers’ offense is at its best when it can establish balance and get its three-headed running back tandem involved. Against the Badgers’ eighth-ranked run defense, I don’t see that happening the way Kyle Flood would like it to. Joe Schobert and T.J. Edwards have stymied pretty much every rushing attack since the Alabama game, which will continue on Saturday. As I said earlier, I think we see possibly Stave’s most productive game of 2015 against a Rutgers secondary that can’t stop much of anything right now. Wisconsin picks up its fourth straight B1G win and keeps the pressure on Iowa.