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With week one of college football already underway, the most intriguing game of the Big Ten is the Wisconsin Badgers hosting the Penn State Nittany Lions.
Several analysts have this matchup being pretty even down the middle. However, the Badgers are capable of winning a game like this in fashion.
Here are the top five key components that Wisconsin Badgers will win this football game.
Graham Mertz stays hot
Like many teams with a young quarterback, a big deciding factor in this game will greatly depend on the performance of Graham Mertz. We have seen him when he’s hot, but we have also seen him with inconsistent play. This is a Penn State team that might be one of the most underrated the country. Many experts are very high on Mertz and hope he can take that big leap this season. If he can stay consistent like he can be, this should be a fun game to watch for Wisconsin fans.
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Grab Momentum Early
As mentioned from Penn State’s defensive key factors, the same one goes for Wisconsin. Even though they are at home, scoring early would be huge for the Badgers. Last season when they hosted Indiana, there were no points on the board from either side until the second quarter, which was an Indiana touchdown. Despite the low-scoring game, once the Hoosiers scored, the confidence level of the Badgers started to drop. This Penn State defense might have lost a lot of key players, but they still have several talented guys who have returned.
Productive Run Game
Clemson transfer Chez Mellusi got the nod as the starting running back for the Badgers for tomorrow’s game. However, we saw a variety of running back’s last season get touches. Expect to see Jalen Berger as a guy to watch on this offense. Wisconsin has always had a very productive run game. If they can stay consistent with it, that will take some of the pressure off Mertz it will be a key factor to winning this game.
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Consistent Passing Game
Wisconsin had a very productive passing game last season. They don’t have any highly prolific weapons. But they do have guys that are flashy and are capable of creating chaos. The first one is Jake Ferguson, who was Mertz’s top target against Illinois in last year‘s season opener where he finished with three touchdowns. He made the decision to come back to Wisconsin after the conclusion of the 2020 season. To some, it came as a bit of a surprise. However, he could very well be a draft riser to watch for the Badgers this season.
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The second one is Danny Davis III. Davis is a flashy player with impressive hands and is dangerous after the catch. Penn State has a tough secondary who didn’t lose a ton. However, if Davis can show off his hands early and control the secondary, the offense will be moving early in this game.
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Jack Sanborn Stays Hot
For the last key component, we will move over to the defense and talk about not only one of the vocal leaders, but also the heart and soul of this defense. Jack Sanborn. In 2019, many fans became familiar with the 6-foot-2 and 236 pound linebacker. We didn’t see a ton of production from him last season. Some games he was flashy, but others there were inconsistencies in his game. If there’s anyone on the defence that needs to have a productive game to help lead the Badgers to a win, it’s Jack Sanborn. We know what he is capable of, and if he can stay consistent and get in Sean Clifford‘s head, there will be a lot of momentum for the Badgers defense.
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There are several factors that you could put into play for the Badgers to win this game tomorrow. However, these five are not only the most important, but they are the most crucial ones that will make this game fun and exciting for Badger fans.