Penn State vs. Wisconsin: Game facts for Saturday

November 30, 2013 

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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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