WI – After back-to-back losses took the shine off its strong start, Wisconsin has gotten back on track in its bid to qualify for a major bowl game.
The Badgers appear to have a good chance to pad their postseason resume again with Michigan coming to
Bet College Football Week 11
The No. 21 Badgers look to take advantage of the struggling Wolverines and win their third straight home game in the series Saturday.
Oddsmakers from online sports book SPORTSBETTING.com have made Wisconsin -9.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 55% of bets for this game have been placed on Wisconsin -9.5 (View College Football bet percentages).
Wisconsin (7-2, 4-2 Big Ten) opened with five victories in a row before dropping two straight against then-No. 9
Ohio State and then-No. 11
Iowa. The Badgers, though, have rebounded with consecutive victories, 37-0 at home over Purdue on Oct. 31 and 31-28 at
Indiana last Saturday.
Coach Bret Bielema remembers the missed opportunities against the Buckeyes and Hawkeyes, but he likes the way his team has responded.
"It's unfortunate we weren't able to have those two victories," Bielema said. "On the same account, our guys learned some lessons and hopefully the younger guys will have that in their minds moving forward."
Two young running backs were the key to last week's win. Sophomore John Clay ran for 134 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries in the first half before leaving with a concussion. He was replaced by freshman Montee Ball, who ran 27 times for 115 yards and two scores.
Wisconsin football," Ball said. "Run the football and just beat your opponents up and that's what we did."
Bielema said Monday that Clay should be ready to play against
Michigan. The Badgers, though, won't have receiver Maurice Moore, who has been suspended indefinitely following his arrest early Sunday on suspicion of drunken driving.
Wisconsin has won its last two home games against the Wolverines, upsetting ranked
Michigan teams in 2005 and 2007. Overall, however, the Badgers have dropped 17 of 21 in the series, which the Wolverines lead 49-12-1.
Michigan is 19-5-1 at Camp Randall Stadium.
Michigan overcame a 19-point halftime deficit to defeat then-No. 9 Wisconsin 27-25 in
Ann Arbor last Sept. 27. It was the first of four straight losses for the Badgers, who finished 7-6 for their worst record since 2003.
"To be in the situation we were at half and finish that game out the way it did leaves a very bad taste, and we all know what happened after that," Bielema said. "We battled our tails off to get to where we are right now."
Though the rivalry has been mostly controlled by
Michigan lately, the Wolverines (5-5, 1-5) have fallen far from their position as Big Ten heavyweights in their second year under coach Rich Rodriguez.
Michigan, the winningest program in college football history, had a 33-year bowl streak snapped with last season's 3-9 finish, and after winning its first four games of 2009, it has dropped five of six. The lone win in that stretch came against
State of the Football Championship Subdivision.
To qualify for a bowl,
Michigan must beat
Wisconsin or win next week at home against rival
State in the regular-season finale.
Michigan is not used to this, but neither am I or my staff," Rodriguez said Monday. "We're all kind of going through this process. We're not daunted by the challenge. It's just a bigger challenge than a lot of people think."
Michigan had a 24-10 halftime lead over Purdue last Saturday but gave up 21 third-quarter points for the second consecutive game en route to a 38-36 home defeat. Brandon Minor ran for his third touchdown with 2:10 remaining, but Tate Forcier was sacked on a potential game-tying 2-point conversion.
In the past three games, the Wolverines have been outscored 75-12 in the second half.
"It's embarrassing," defensive end Brandon Graham said. "But we know we're better than that. We're just trying to prove it."
Forcier got off to an impressive start to his freshman season with nine touchdown passes and two TD runs in his first five games, but he's been far less effective lately. He threw for a score and ran for another against the Boilermakers for his first TDs in five games. He also fumbled an option pitch early in the third quarter, a turnover that helped spark Purdue's comeback.
Despite the Wolverines' struggles, the Badgers insist they aren't taking anything for granted this week.
Michigan," Bielema said. "They're going to be able to recruit, their guys look good, they have all the right bumps in all the right places. They run. They are physical at contact. They're going to play well."
Bet College Football Week 11
Posted: 11/10/09 1:12PM ET