Rose Bowl Preview: Wisconsin vs Oregon
Grasp this. Oregon and Wisconsin are two of 12 teams since 1996 to score at least 80 touchdowns in a season. In a season! Now Oregon has done it twice along with Oklahoma. Take your seat folks, please fasten your safety belts as this one could be a fast paced game that gives you a thrill ride like you have not seen in years. The Badgers average 44.6 points per game. The Ducks average 46.2. The Badgers give up an average of 17 points per game while the Ducks yield 23.6. Both teams are loaded and both teams have great offenses. Both these teams had visions of playing for the bigger prize this season but the Rose Bowl is still a great place for these teams. It is a game that should delight football fans everywhere. The Badger offense has been the best in the Big Ten all year. They finished the season ranked first in rushing (237.4), fourth in passing (229.5) and first in scoring (44.6) in the Big Ten. They won the Big Ten Leaders division and the Big Ten championship game. Quarterback Russell Wilson has been a huge gain for the Badger offense this year. He has thrown for 2879 yards and 31 touchdowns while also rushing for 320 yards and 5 touchdowns. The running game is led by Montee Ball. Ball has rushed for 1759 yards and 32 touchdowns this year. When he isn’t ripping defenses apart they bring in James White who has 683 yards and 6 touchdowns this year. Nick Toon leads receivers with 822 yards and 9 touchdowns but Jared Abbrederis has emerged as another receiving threat for the Badgers this year with 814 yards and 7 touchdowns. Yes, they have the weapons.
The Ducks are no slouch. Oregon managed to finish first in the Pac 12 North and win the Pac 12 title this year. The Ducks ranked first in rushing offense (295.7), tenth in passing (219.5) and first in scoring (46.2). They do like to run the ball at you a lot but they have had plenty of success in the air as well. Quarterback Darron Thomas has thrown for 2493 yards and 30 touchdowns this year. The Ducks have a tandem of backs to give opposing defenses problems too. The leading running back is LaMichael James who has rushed for 1646 yards and 17 touchdowns this year. When he needs a break they bring in Kenjon Barner who managed to run for 909 yards and 11 touchdowns this year. The receiving threats are De’Anthony Thomas who has 440 yards and 5 touchdowns and Lavasier Tuinei who posted 441 yards and 8 touchdowns. As you can see, the Ducks have weapons too.
The Badger defense was one of the best in the Big Ten. Sadly there are not many teams in the Big Ten that run the ball like Oregon. This will be a challenge for the Badgers. Their strength is in their pass defense. They are not a great rush defense team and that will be a problem. Wisconsin finished the year ranked third in the Big Ten in total defense with 293.0 yards per game. Their rushing defense yields an average of 138.0 yards per game. The defense did finish the year ranked second in interceptions in the Big Ten. The defense is led by Mike Taylor and Chris Borland. They will be called upon to stop the Ducks running game.
The Oregon defense is not a particularly strong unit at stopping either the pass or run. The Ducks rushing defense yields 137.5 yards per game which is good enough to be ranked fifth in the Pac 12. The passing defense yields 243.5 yards per game which is also fifth in the Pac 12. The defense is anchored by linebacker Michael Clay, Safety John Boyett and Linebacker Dewitt Stuckey. The Ducks will have their hands full trying to keep Wilson in the pocket but so far this season DE Dion Jordan (7.5 sacks) and Josh Kaddu (6.5) have proven they can get to the quarterback to shake things up in the backfield. The more they can rattle Wilson the better their chances of stopping Ball. The big guys have to get the penetration up front to stop the Badger running game.
The Ducks are a 6 point favorite in this game. That is crazy. I like what the Ducks can do and I may be a bit biased but I think the better weapons will be dressed in cardinal and white for this game. I just don’t believe the Oregon defense can stop the Badger offense. I do believe the Badgers have more weapons on defense that can stop the Ducks. Ok, maybe not stop them but at least slow them down or disrupt their flow enough to give the Badgers the chance to win.
Wisconsin 41 Oregon 39