November 7, 2008

Five things to watch: Indiana

MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin football team is in desperate need of a win. The Indiana football team is in desperate need of a win. The good news, somebody has to get one this weekend when the Badgers and Hoosiers collide at Memorial Stadium.

The following are five things to watch during Saturday's match-up:


1.) UW quarterback heads back to his home state

Being listed as the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart to start the year, Dustin Sherer knew there would be a chance he would get to play. After Allan Evridge underperformed during the early stages of the season, Sherer filled in and will start his fourth consecutive game.

So far, Sherer has shown flashes of good, but also some flashes of bad as UW is 1-2 in his three games under center. This Saturday, he heads back to his home state where he finally hopes to put a complete game together.

"I got to play better," he said. "I'm better, I know I am, but it's getting kind of tired saying it, you just got to do it."

Look for Sherer, with UW's revitalized running attack setting it up, to have his best game of the season against an Indiana secondary that does not cover the pass well.

2.) Repeat performance?

Last week, P.J. Hill and John Clay ran for over 100 yards each. It marked the first time since 2005 that any Badger combo had accomplished the feat, but Wisconsin still found a way to lose.

Against Indiana, who has had difficulties in slowing the run, look for UW to try to establish a running game early on. Heading into the season, the Badger running game figured to be UW's strong suit.

However, with Clay, early miscues hampered his development during the beginning stages of the season. Then, Hill suffered an injury and had to sit out most of the game against Illinois. Needless to say, last week's performance against the Spartans was what coaches had envisioned heading into the season.

"It is, especially with both of them getting 100 yards," head coach Bret Bielema said earlier in the week. "That's something I'd definitely like to stay with."

If they are to get it rolling on the ground, the play-action pass will be there for Sherer and the rest of the Badger receivers which would almost certainly mean UW is in position to even its record.

3.) One final road trip:
For the Badger seniors on this year's team, Saturday's game at Indiana will be the final time they take to the road to play a conference opponent.

"I had a senior dinner on Tuesday night where I brought all those seniors in and we sat down," Bielema said. "…I kind of explained to them afterwards, you know, everybody knows this is your senior year, but as you draw closer, just to sit around and have a dinner like this, this doesn't happen anymore.

"To go on a road trip, this won't ever happen again in your entire life."

It will be interesting to see if the Badger seniors have any extra pep in their step during the road game of their career.

4.) Who's under center for IU?

Kellen Lewis has been banged up over the past few weeks, but made his return last Saturday following a two-game absence. But during his time out, Ben Chappell filled in for the injured Lewis and did a bang-up job.

Last week, with Lewis back, both him and Chappell split time under center. In its back-and-forth loss to Central Michigan, Lewis finished 5-for-9 for 57 yards while Chappell completed half of his 16 passing attempts for 156 yards, one touchdown and an interception.

It will be interesting to see how Indiana coach Bill Lynch plans to utilize his quarterbacks, as both will likely see game action.

5.) Indiana's seniors will be motivated too:

For the home Hoosiers, Saturday will be senior day at Memorial Stadium. In total, 14 Indiana players, including starting running back Marcus Thigpen, will receive a nice ovation when they take to the field one final time. Look for an emotionally driven team, who is also desperate for a win, to play free and easy with nothing to lose against the Badgers.

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