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Friday, March 24, 2023

Badger defense looks to stop McGloin

Although the confidence level of the Wisconsin defense is sky high after containing Ohio State’s Braxton Miller and its spread attack for most of last weekend’s loss, it is prepared for a different type of challenge at Penn State.

Penn State senior Matt McGloin is coming off of perhaps his best performance last week against Indiana, throwing for 395 yards and four touchdowns. He also extended his streak of games with a touchdown pass to nine games and earned Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week in the process.

“This quarterback’s a very efficient thrower,” Wisconsin linebackers coach Andy Buh said. “He takes off and runs when he needs to, not when he has to.”

McGloin and the rest of the offense has come a long way since its losses to Ohio and Virginia in the first two weeks of the season, which should worry Badgers fans considering the uncertainty in redshirt junior linebacker Chris Borland’s hamstring injury.

“The thing that’s unique about Penn State is that their tempo is fast,” redshirt junior defensive tackle Ethan Hemer said. “Very similar to Ohio State in that sense.”

But the similarities end there.

“Everything is pretty much designed pro style,” Buh said. “This will be a challenge for us because we haven’t seen a team with this scheme. This will be a major challenge for us.”

McGloin passed Daryll Clark (2006-09) on the career passing touchdowns record this year. The Scranton, Pa., native has completed 61.4% of his passes this season for 3,071 yards and 23 touchdowns to only five interceptions.

Getting to McGloin early will be key for the Badgers considering the quick starts Penn State has become familiar with this season. The Nittany Lions have outscored their opponents 90-6 in the first quarter this season.

“For us, the biggest difference is going to be facing a team that runs to set up the pass rather than pass to set up the run,” Hemer said.

“We need to find a way to go from a good defense to a great defense,” he said. “This is the perfect opportunity for us to do it.”

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