In a game with surprising Big Ten Leader division implications, the Indiana Hoosiers (4-5 overall, 2-3 Big Ten) host the Wisconsin Badgers (6-3, 3-2 conference) for a noon kick Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington. If the Hoosiers can extend their modest win streak to three games with a victory, IU could have the inside track to the league title contest in Indianapolis.
The Hoosiers and Wisconsin both benefit from Ohio State and Penn State’s ineligibility due to NCAA infractions. After Saturday’s matchup, IU closes the season on the road at Penn State and Pudue, while the Badgers host Ohio State and Penn State.
Second-year Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson acknowledges the opportunity his team has, but doesn’t get caught up in the hype of the game. “I don’t think our kids are going to get a big head by any means,” Wilson said. “But do you learn how to still come back and be tough and work hard and prepare when you’ve won a game? … Now you’ve got the result. Do it again. Keep working hard and the result is going to repeat itself. It’s a little bit of the snowball mentality. You want to gain momentum as you’re playing through the season.”
Junior college transer Cameron Coffman, who rebounded from a slow start to later engineer the Hoosiers victory over Iowa, is expected to start at quarterback. He’ll look for wide out Cody Latimer downfield in an effort to keep the Wisconsin defense off balance.IU will also try to jump start a running game that sputtered last week. Look for Stephen Houston to get alot of touches as the Hoosiers try to keep the Wisconsin offense off the field.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin is used to playing in meaningful situations. “For us here at Wisconsin to have a game in November that matters really isn’t new, stated Badgers head man Brett Bielema.
Wisconsin will rely on the one-two running punch of running backs Montee Ball and James White. Ball, a preseason Heisman favorite before injuries knocked him out early in the year, has rumbled for over 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns. He and sidekick James White (486 yards, 6 toudchdowns) will try and pound a smaller IU defense. The Badgers hope to control the clock and alleviate any pressure on new starting quarterback Curt Phillips (in place of the injured Joel Stave).
Extra Points: Saturday marks IU’s last home game of the season, and Senior Day….Former IU assistant Matt Canada returns to Bloomington, this time as Offensive Coordinator of Wisconsin….Indiana senior defensive tackle Adam Replogle and sophomore safety Mark Muprhy have been named to the Capital One Academic All-District V Team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America. The honor recognizes the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom. Replogle is on the team for the third straight season, while Murphy makes his first appearance.