Time and Date: 12 PM ET - September 16
Broadcast Network: Big Ten Network
Location: Camp Randall Stadium - Madison, WI
Records: Wisconsin 1-1, Georgia Southern 2-0
Line: Wisconsin -20
Point Total: O/U 64
All-Time Series: This is the first meeting between the two programs.
Georgia Southern Outlook
The Eagles will look to win over a Big 10 opponent for the second consecutive season when it takes on a Wisconsin team angry at coming off of a week 2 loss.
New Eagles quarterback Davis Brin has been fairly sharp thus far, throwing for 281 yards per game with 4 touchdowns and a pair of interceptions through two early wins. The interceptions, while not killers through the first contests, will need to be cleaned up against an angry Badgers team that was upset last week and will rightfully be looking to get back on the winning track in this one.
Luckily through two weeks, Wisconsin’s pass defense has been exploitable even under the defensive expertise of Luke Fickell, as they currently sit at 79th in the country in yardage allowed this season.
We know Eagles offensive coordinator Bryan Ellis wants to throw the ball early and often, and luckily Southern’s receiving corps is back to full strength after struggling with injuries last year.
Derwin Burgess has led the charge at the wideout spot, hauling in two of Brin’s passing touchdowns and is averaging 75 yards receiving per game so far.
The Badgers’ run defense is markedly better than its secondary, surrendering an average of just 100 yards per game, so Ellis and Brin should have the green light to sling it should the team understandably need points as a 20-point underdog in this one.
On the defensive side of the ball, Southern’s run defense is improved from last year but still is not overly formidable, allowing 145 yards per game, good for 89th in the country so far this year.
The Eagles should be prepared for a punishing ground attack from the Badgers, something that has become a staple of the Big Ten program over the last several years.
Last week’s loss to Washington State was a rough one for Wisconsin, as they traveled to Pullman and were knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten in a 9-point loss to the Cougars, 31-22.
Fickell and company should be able to get back to what they do best in this one: Running the football and playing strong defense.
Last week, Wisconsin’s leading rusher Chez Mellusi had real trouble finding running lanes against their Pac-12 opponent, with just 50 yards and a score as the Badgers were forced to chase points after getting down by two scores in the second quarter.
Tanner Mordecai has been a prototypical Wisconsin quarterback so far this season, averaging 233 yards per game with as many touchdowns as interceptions, 2 apiece. Mordecai won’t kill you with his legs, so Georgia Southern’s pass defense can breathe easy against defending a dual-threat quarterback.
The one thing Wisconsin cannot do again is getting down by 10+ points, as the Badgers simply do not, and never have really had, the playmakers on the outside to score at will if needed.
When Georgia Southern defeated Nebraska last season, the game was a shootout, I do not think Wisconsin has it in them to overcome the Eagles should the points come in bunches.
As good as Georgia Southern has been this season, there have been some mistakes on both sides of the ball that would have cost them against better competition than The Citadel and UAB.
If the Eagles play a clean game, they certainly have a chance; although I think Wisconsin is out to make a statement after last week.
Final Score: Wisconsin 24, Georgia Southern 14