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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, March 02, 2024

UW prepares to battle a legend

The Penn State Nittany Lions (0-1) wanted nothing more than to give Head Coach Joe Paterno his 323rd win as a Division I-A head coach Sept. 1 against second-ranked Miami.  




Going into the game, he was only one win short of tying the immortal Paul 'Bear' Bryant for all-time Division I-A wins by a head coach. Unfortunately for the Penn State faithful, the Hurricanes would have none of it, as they thrashed the outmatched Lions 33-7. 




Come Saturday, when the Wisconsin Badgers (1-2) head into Penn State's newly-renovated Beaver Stadium, the Nittany Lions will have had a full three weeks to ponder their next chance.  




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The Badgers, however, are hoping to follow the Hurricane's lead and deprive Paterno of the great honor for at least one more game. 




'[Wisconsin] is 1-2, but they lost to two awfully good football teams in two great football games,' Paterno said. 'I think they are a very, very good football team that had started out a little bit shaky.' 




The Badgers will head into Happy Valley, as Penn State's stadium is affectionately coined, for their Big Ten opener. A win would jump start their run at another Rose Bowl. It would also square their record at 2-2.  




The nation hasn't had much of a chance to look at the Nittany Lions yet. In their one game so far this season, Miami trounced them. The Hurricanes threw for 344 yards and ran the ball for 258 more. They pushed Penn State's defense all over the field.  




The Lions' offense couldn't boast much either. Miami had a 33-0 lead before the Lions got on the board.  




Sophomore quarterback Zack Mills is looking for another opportunity to prove himself. In his first start, he threw for 240 yards and one touchdown against the stifling Hurricane defense. 




If Penn State wants to be anywhere near the win column on Saturday, it will have to shore up its defense. Objective number one will be stopping the nation's leading rusher, Wisconsin redshirt freshman running back Anthony Davis.  




Davis, the 5'8\, 189-pound tailback out of Plainfield, NJ, is tops in the nation with 414 yards rushing. He's well on his way to continuing what's becoming a tradition of having a 1,000-yard rusher at Wisconsin every year.  




Badgers junior wide receiver Lee Evans is off to a great start with 485 receiving yards, placing him first in the nation. As for the quarterback position, sources indicate that junior Brooks Bollinger may get the start, his first since leaving the season opener against Virginia with a kidney injury. Sophomore Jim Sorgi has struggled a bit in Bollinger's absence, completing just 45.9 percent of his passes while throwing five touchdowns and three interceptions. 




'I thought Brooks had a good week of practice,' UW Head Coach Barry Alvarez said. 'I thought as the week went on, his timing and rhythm were much better. He was a little rusty, as you would expect after a couple of weeks off, but I think he felt more and more comfortable as the week went on.' 




The Wisconsin defense is going to have to step up its game. The defensive line, led by 6'4"", 302-pound defensive end Wendell Bryant, needs to get pressure on Mills and force him to make some split-second decisions.  




'Defensively, they have the same kind of speed in the secondary that we saw with Miami,' Paterno said. 




The Badgers should be able to shut down Penn State on the ground, since the Nittany Lions' running game looks as though it needs a shot in the arm. The duo of seniors Omar Easy and Eric McCoo struggled against Miami, combining for just 82 yards. 




If Penn State is forced to rely on its running game it could mean yet another week of waiting for Joe Paterno and his faithful fans.

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