Badgers will wear down pesky Lions

Scouts, Inc., examines the Penn State-Wisconsin matchup and sees the Badgers coming away with a close win.

Originally Published: September 23, 2004
By Todd McShay | Scouts, Inc.
Big Ten play will kickoff for both Penn State and No. 20 Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium on ESPN's College Football Saturday Primetime. The Badgers own a 4-3 advantage in this series since the Nittany Lions joined the conference in 1993. The visiting team has won five of the last seven meetings, including the last three.

Who: Penn State vs. Wisconsin
When: Sat., 5:45 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Where: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wisc.

Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions are looking to end a six-game road losing streak when they travel to Madison on Saturday. If they are to upset the Badgers, QB Zack Mills must provide more consistency from the quarterback position. Penn State overcame Mills' six turnovers in its 37-13 win over Central Florida last week. However, it will be a long season if Mills doesn't start playing like a senior captain.

The Badgers are happy to return home after barely escaping the desert with a 9-7 win over Arizona. RB Anthony Davis is set to miss his third consecutive game and, before the season, backup Dwayne Smith was diagnosed with a career-ending heart condition. For a program that relies on its running game, things are not looking up for Wisconsin.

Wisconsin has developed an undesirable reputation for starting strong and finishing poorly. The Badgers were 5-0 to start the 2002 season, and finished with six losses in their last nine games. After starting out 6-1 last season, they finished with five losses in their last six games. The 2004 Badgers are beginning to look a lot like a team that could continue that trend.

With a struggling Illinois team visiting Camp Randall next week and Davis scheduled to return the following week when the Badgers travel to Columbus, Saturday night's visit from Penn State becomes the "hump game."

If the Badgers can take care of business against Paterno's pesky Nittany Lions, they should head into that October 9th meeting against the Buckeyes with a 5-0 record. If Penn State is able to pull off the upset, things could fall apart quickly for Alvarez's team.

Todd McShay

ESPN Senior Writer