Badgers Gameday Preview: 2012 Big Ten Championship Game

Don't call it a rematch, especially in front of Bo Pelini of Nebraska or Bret Bielema of the Badgers and in truth these two teams are vastly different from the ones that took the field on Sept. 29th in the first conference matchup of the season. It was the Huskers that came out victorious however, winning 30-27. Sorry, we had to remind you of that, but it's a reality and we're betting it's also something the Badgers have been reminded about all week in the locker room. 

So, what does Nebraska vs. Wisconsin part deux have in store for us? Well, let's explore the matchup that will determine who takes on Stanford in the Rose Bowl this year.

Who: Wisconsin vs. No. 14 Nebraska
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, IN (62,421)
Series Record: Nebraska leads 2-1
Last Meeting: 2012 (30-27 Nebraska Win in Lincoln)
TV: Fox (7:17pmCT kickoff, coverage starts at 6:30pmCT)
Our Coverage: live tweets during the game @MTBadgers (could have a surprise or two in store so make sure to follow)

Statistical Breakdown:

Category Wisconsin Big Ten Rank National Rank Nebraska Big Ten Rank National Rank
Scoring Offense 27.5 8th 73rd 35.4 2nd 29th
Total Offense 380.4 8th 85th 460.9 1st 26th
Rushing Offense 212.7 4th 23rd 252.2 1st 8th
Passing Offense 167.8 11th 112th 208.8 5th 91st
Scoring Defense 18.1 2nd 17th 22.6 5th 31st
Total Defense 307.9 2nd 11th 318.3 4th 15th
Rushing Defense 111.3 2nd 12th 166.2 8th 73rd
Passing Defense 196.6 6th 24th 152.2 1st 1st

…. more after the jump …..

For Wisconsin to Win: For Wisconsin to win they need to keep the Nebraska defense off balance and to do that they need to come out and punch them in the mouth with the running game and hit a big pass play early on. If the Badgers can't get Jared Abbrederis involved and do so on deep balls this could be a long day for the Badgers because the Huskers pass defense is good enough to make the short passing game Wisconsin has been using as of late irrelevant.

Defensively it's all about exactly how healthy and how big Chris Borland can play. He's the best player on defense in this football game and arguably the best player on either team no matter the position. If he starts making big plays early on Nebraska is going to be in trouble. Add in the fact that the secondary is vastly different than the one Nebraska saw in the first meeting and they could be key in getting a turnover or two to help force the issue tonight. 

So in summary, the Badgers offense needs to hit a few big plays early on and the defense needs Chris Borland to come up big time in his return to the field. 

For Nebraska to Win: A defense that has struggled as of late against the run and will be missing a big time player in Blake Steinkuhler need to find a way to at the least slow down Montee Ball and keep the Badgers from grinding this game out. If they can do that and keep the Huskers offense in good field position by forcing 3 and outs this will be a win for the Huskers.

On the offensive side of the ball Nebraska needs to just keep on doing what it's been doing all season long – mainly getting big time plays out of Taylor Martinez in both the running game and the passing game. It happened in the first matchup against the Badgers and it really sparked this offense. So, if Martinez can make a play or two early on with his feet and avoid what is sure to be some crazy pressure on him from Borland, Gilbert, and Kelly then it can be a win for the Huskers.


- When it scores points in the 3rd quarter the Badgers are 6-2 this season. Interestingly, the Nebraska game was the only loss all season when they scored points in the 3rd quarter.- With a win the Badgers become the first Big Ten team since Michigan in 1977-79 to make three straight Rose Bowl appearances. 

- A win for the Badgers would tie a school record for most wins in a four year period at 40 and allow them a chance to break that record in the Rose Bowl.

- Wisconsin is 9-0 in it's last nine games in the state of Indiana. 

- Nebraska's 7-1 record in Big Ten play was it's best record in conference play since going 7-1 in the 2001 season.

- Nebraska has lost it's last two attempts at a conference championship game (2009, 2010 Big 12)

- Huskers kicker Brett Maher is just 3 points away from breaking into the top 10 of the all-time scoring list at Nebraska.

- Nebraska hasn't been scored on for 3 quarters of football 

Prediction: Wisconsin 33, Nebraska 30 – This isn't the same football team we saw blow a 17 point lead on the road in Lincoln.

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college football for nearly half a decade. He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadgers.com and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, 32flags.com