Coming off a victory in its home opener, Troy travels to Madison, Wisconsin this weekend to face a perennial powerhouse from the Big Ten, the Wisconsin Badgers.
“Wisconsin is about what you expect,” Head Coach Neal Brown said. “They’re really well coached and they are big and physical. They’ve won a lot of football games; they are a top 25 team. I think they would probably be higher ranked, but they played Alabama.”
Wisconsin is 1-1 this season, fresh off of a 58-0 pounding of Miami-Ohio.
Known for their rushing attack and a carousel of NFL-caliber offensive lineman, Wisconsin also boasts an experienced leader in senior quarterback Joel Stave. Stave is 21-7 as a starter for the Badgers.
The Trojans have a difficult challenge this week. An impressive win against Charleston Southern garnered some attention, so Wisconsin will not be underestimating the potential of Troy.
For the Trojans, this is an opportunity to improve, gauge their level of competitiveness, and earn a monumental upset for the program. The Trojans will need to play better this weekend than they have yet this season. Wisconsin is a five-touchdown favorite over Troy this Saturday.
There will be a battle between the resiliency of Troy’s defensive line and the size of the Badgers’ offensive line.
Wisconsin will run the ball every play if it is successful, so block shedding, pursuing and maintaining run gap assignments will be critical factors for Troy.
Offensively, Troy has not run as many plays this season as they would like.
“The first week is a little bit concerning to me,” Brown said, referring to time of possession. “We’ve got to get better at third downs, that’s something that’s a point of emphasis. We can’t ask our defense to go out and play that many snaps against their offense… I’m more concerned with our lack of plays.
“I’m really pleased with what we’re averaging yards per play, you know I think it’s 6.7 or something like that for the season, but really disappointed with the number of snaps we’re getting.”
Troy’s offense wants to sustain more drives throughout the game. The Trojans want to be up-tempo and explosive, but converting on third downs and extending drives can help keep their defense fresh.
Kickoff at Camp Randall Stadium is set for 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19.