Wisconsin still has football games to play, believe it or not. The 5-4 Badgers sit at 3-3 in conference play and now get a winnable three-game stretch to finish the season.
Last week at Indiana was also winnable, and we know how that one turned out.
But the Badgers are somehow still alive in the Big Ten West. So a win against Northwestern on Saturday has a chance to be a jumping-off point for a mini-run to end the season.
Northwestern enters the afternoon tilt in Madison ranked No. 89 in the nation, six spots ahead of Indiana. The team somehow withstood a turbulent offseason to notch four wins. It is alive for a bowl game and still has a lot to play for.
Here is everything you need to know about the 2023 Northwestern Wildcats:
Head coach, Defensive Coordinator: David Braun (interim)
Offensive coordinator: Mike Bajakian
RB Cam Porter
WR Bryce Kirtz
WR Cam Johnson
193.6 passing yards per game, 13 passing touchdowns, five interceptions, 40 sacks allowed
98.6 rushing yards-per-game, 2.8 yards-per-carry, eight touchdowns
38.64% on third down
Northwestern hasn’t had an impressive season on offense. It’s gone through a transition to Brendan Sullivan at quarterback, just lost a game 10-7 to Iowa, lost one to 17-9 to Nebraska and only averages 20 points per game.
That said, the Wildcats are somehow 4-5 on the season despite coaching turnover immediately before the season. When needed, the offense has actually delivered.
Northwestern put up 37 on Minnesota in a last-minute comeback win, and 33 on Maryland thanks to a two-touchdown day from Sullivan.
To stop the Wildcats’ attack, Wisconsin must stop running back Cam Porter. The junior has 382 rushing yards, 82 receiving yards and three total touchdowns on the season.
Wisconsin should have success in this matchup, but then again it did struggle against Indiana. So who knows what to expect on Saturday.
24.2 points allowed-per-game
363.1 yards allowed-per-game
Seven interceptions, three forced fumbles
Welcome to another matchup where Wisconsin should be able to run the ball at will. Northwestern boasts the No. 86-ranked rush defense in the nation, while having not faced a gauntlet of great running backs.
This is a big day for Braelon Allen, if he’s healthy. If not, it should be a solid day for Cade Yacamelli and Jackson Acker.
Northwestern is led in the middle by LB Bryce Gallagher, who has recorded 78 tackles, 3.5 TFLs, one sack, one interception and two forced fumbles this season.
Also, look out for LB Xander Mueller. He’s tallied 9.5 TFLs and 4.5 sacks this year.
Who knows what to expect from the Wisconsin offense on Saturday. The stats say it should be a good day, but we’ve learned it might not be that simple.