Fruehauf Going Off

Story by Steve Fruehauf, Copy Editor

Joel Stave and Wisconsin’s passing game were rather quiet in last Saturday’s game against Minnesota, accumulating only 106 yards total. But who cares when you have running backs that combine for over 330 yards along with five touchdowns in a game? Surprisingly, James White was the main man against the Gophers, putting up 175 yards and three touchdowns.

But what about Montee Ball, the team’s leading runner? While he has been nursing a leg issue, he was still able to rush for 166 yards and two touchdowns. That, along with a couple deep passes to Jared Abbrederis, the Badgers cruised past Minnesota with to a 38-13 victory, claiming Paul Bunyan’s Axe for the ninth year in a row.

With his two touchdowns in this game, Ball is only five away from breaking the FBS career rushing touchdown record set by Travis Prentice of Miami (OH) spanning from 1996-99 (78). This
is a correction from last week’s column.

The Badgers’ defense did their job this week too. But that’s mainly because of some Minnesota offensive struggles. They started third string Phillip Nelson, who actually didn’t do that poorly for it being his quarterback debut. He finished the night with 149 yards passing along with two touchdowns. But he also threw two interceptions, one in the third and the other in the fourth, that both lead to scores by Wisconsin.

This win marks the third straight victory for the Badgers, as well as the third game in a row where they scored more than 30 points. Along with that, it also brings their winning streak at home to 21.

Next week, they face a tough Michigan State next week at Camp Randall Stadium. The Spartans are currently on a two game losing streak so they’ll be looking for a big win. But after last year’s last second victory against the Badgers, I feel it’ll be a hard fought battle for both sides.

They have a good quarterback in Andrew Maxwell, who’s thrown for approximately 1,800 yards on the season thus far. They also have a successful running back in Le’Veon Bell, who’s almost rushed for 1,000 yards.

Both him and Ball are great runners, but the difference is Ball knows how to get in the end zone more. He has 13 touchdowns on the season compared to Bell’s eight. Although, that could be due to the Spartan’s passing game getting more reps than Stave and the Badgers.

Regardless, I think the game plan should call on the ground game to do most of the work. Have Ball and White punch it through the line until the defense can stop it. It’s no surprise that Wisconsin focuses their offense around Ball. Yet, teams still continue to have difficulty stopping him. This could potentially be no different.

If they are able to hold him, then it may turn into a game of arm strength. Who can get it done through the air? It’s obvious that Maxwell has the better statistics but I wouldn’t count Stave out. He has proven to hold his own when facing challenging teams. He just needs to work on pass accuracy and not turn the ball over.