The Brain Trust: Previewing & Picking Wisconsin vs. UTEP

Stave_close.jpegNothing to talk about ahead of this game, right? Oh, wait, Wisconsin has a new quarterback and a returning Jared Abbrederis? Awesome.

UTEP comes in battle tested having faced Oklahoma out of the Big 12 and Ole Miss out of the SEC, so playing against the likes of a Big Ten team aren't going to intimidate the Miners. However, they weren't able to win either of those games and are coming in to this one 1-2 after a win against rival New Mexico State. 

Wisconsin has a host of their own issues to deal with despite a 2-1 record. Gone is QB Danny O'Brien, replaced after a first half performance that included multiple bad decisions and a turnover. In his place is redshirt freshman and former walk-on Joel Stave. 

So both teams have issues coming in, but how do they stack up statistically? Let's take a look.

(Warning it could be quite ugly here so you may want to advert the eyes of those with weak stomachs)

Category Wisconsin NCAA Big Ten UTEP NCAA C-USA
Scoring Offense 16.3 113th 12th 19.3 106th 9th
Total Offense 276 116th 12th 351 94th 8th
Rushing Offense 119.7 94th 11th 140.3 82nd 4th
Passing Offense 156.3 114th 12th 210.7 85th 10th
Scoring Defense 15 27th 4th 26.7 77th 4th
Total Defense 322.7 30th 6th 455.7 97th 5th
Rushing Defense 82 17th 3rd 215.7 106th 6th
Passing Defense 240.7 72nd 9th 240 71st 5th

These numbers paint a grim picture offensively for the Badgers, yet there was some hope with the performance of the running game in the second half of last week's game. 

If the Badgers want to continue improving the run game that hasn't gotten going the numbers and the tape tell us this should be the game to do it in as the Miners are awful against the run. So, expect Bucky to come out and pound the ball early and often.

Wisconsin needs to watch the passing attack of the Miners and avoid giving up the big play as we talked a bit about in our "5 Things to Watch" feature yesterday. Overall though the offense vs. defense matchup trends in the Badgers favor.

The numbers tell us this could be the game we see a major breakout from the Badgers, but we've seen stranger things from this team this year.

Predictions:

Andy: Wisconsin 31, UTEP 13

Arman: Wisconsin 20, UTEP 13

Nate: Wisconsin 28, UTEP 17

Cole: Wisconsin 28, UTEP 13

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, 32flags.com as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10.com

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