The Wisconsin Badgers may be 3-1, although it is not the start that many envisioned to start the 2012 college football season. While they may have lost last year’s Rose Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson to the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL, they thought they had their next top transfer quarterback from the Maryland Terrapins in Danny O’Brien. With Heisman Trophy candidate running back Montee Ball, Wisconsin was expected to do some big things again in 2012.
That has not been the case.
Ball has been struggling to get it going on the ground for the Badgers, and it appears as if O’Brien played himself out of the starting quarterback job, giving way to redshirt freshman Joel Stave as the Badgers hit the road to take on the No. 22 Nebraska Cornhuskers. It sounds bad, but it is not all bad news for the badgers, as the injured Ball says he will be on the field on Saturday night in Lincoln.
“I’m going to play,” Ball said. “No doubt. If I’m cleared to play, I’m playing. I don’t want to sit out for this game.”
He may not want to, but Ball does still need to receive medical clearance after taking another tough hit last Saturday. Bell does not believe that he suffered his second concussion of the season against the UTEP Miners, but rather said he was just a “little dizzy” and “stunned” after the hit he took on a touchdown play in the win.
But even if Ball is cleared to play for Wisconsin on Saturday, the Badgers will need him to average more than the 3.9 yards per carry mark that he has put up thus far in 2012. Especially if they have any plans of upsetting Nebraska.
The Badgers’ offense has been stagnant at times, and Ball’s low rushing average has not helped. But the team is hoping that Stave can spark the team on offense, as when he got his first start, he led Wisconsin to its’ highest scoring output of the season in the 37-26 win over UTEP.
Saturday night’s game will mark the first Big Ten Conference game of the season for both teams. They may have identical 3-1 records so far, but because of performance and opponents thus far, Nebraska is favored by -11.5 behind quarterback Taylor Martinez and running back Ameer Abdullah.