Penn State vs. Wisconsin: Game facts for Saturday

November 30, 2013 


Nebraska's David Santos runs Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg out of bounds during the Saturday, November 23, 2013 game at Beaver Stadium.

ABBY DREY — CDT photo Buy Photo

When: 3:30 p.m., Saturday

Where: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wis.

Series: Wisconsin leads 9-7

Last meeting: Penn State won 24-21 in overtime

Coaches: Wisconsin — Gary Andersen, first season (9-2), 39-33 overall; Penn State — Bill O’Brien, second season, 14-9 overall.

Television: ESPN (commentators: Mike Patrick, Ed Cunningham, Jeannine Edwards)

Radio: WQWK 1450, WBUS 93.7 (Announcers: Steve Jones, Jack Ham)

The skinny: With a win, Penn State earns its ninth straight winning season. A loss would drop Penn State to its worst on-field finish since 2004. Wisconsin hasn’t missed a beat with new head coach Gary Andersen, who has coaxed some good football out of a veteran unit ripe with playmakers. The Badgers are led by a massive offensive line that has paved the way for one of the nation’s most powerful running attacks, and Wisconsin has a chance to set an impressive record. Badger running backs Melvin Gordon and James White need just 349 yards to become the NCAA’s single-season leaders for rushing yards by teammates. Penn State will likely get Bill Belton back for its own one-two punch at running back. This is setting up to be a physical game between two ground-and-pound teams.

Badger player to watch: Look out for outside linebacker Brendan Kelly, who has been on fire. Kelly leads the Badgers with 41/2 sacks and all of them have come in the past five games, including two against Minnesota. Kelly is a big body, at 6-foot-6, 255 pounds, and will be a tough test for Penn State’s offensive line to contain.

Nittany Lion player to watch: Penn State is going to need a big game from its best player in what could be his final game in a Nittany Lions uniform. As he has been for the last two seasons, Allen Robinson will likely be up to the task. Enjoy watching No. 8 on Saturday. Should he choose to leave Penn State a year early, he’s currently pegged to go in the early rounds of the NFL Draft.

Key matchup: Penn State’s offensive line has blocked well over the past four games and must continue that trend against the Badgers. If Penn State’s linemen can successfully push Wisconsin’s front seven — configured in a 3-4 look — Penn State can win the time-of-possession battle and keep the Badger offense off the field.

By Travis Johnson

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