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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Monday, September 25, 2023

Football: Offense looks to stay hot at Arizona State

Racking up 45 and 48 points in consecutive weeks usually indicates a strong offense.

Saturday night the No. 20 Wisconsin offense will have to be in full motion when it travels down to Phoenix, Ariz. to take on Arizona State.

After facing Massachusetts and FCS opponent Tennessee Tech to open up the season, the Sun Devils, who bullied an Football Championship Subdivision opponent of their own in Sacramento State, present the Badgers with their first real test.

ASU is an experience-laden team, especially on the defensive side of the ball where they start eight seniors.

Its defense looks to present a few problems for the Badgers, especially their front seven.

Coach Andersen is all too aware of the talent and experience of the Sun Devil front.

“They’re a very solid, salty defense,” Andersen said in a Monday press conference. “The front seven has some players who will make a whole bunch of money playing this game throughout their careers.”

One such player who will likely be seen on NFL Sundays next year is senior defensive tackle Will Sutton, who opted to stay in school rather than enter into a draft where he would have been a high pick.

Last season Sutton racked up 23.5 tackles for loss, tying South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney for second most in the nation. Sutton already has a tackle for a loss and a forced fumble this season.

Offensive line coach T.J. Woods went so far as to name Sutton as the biggest matchup for his unit.

“It’s all of us against No. 90 [Sutton] and No. 52 [junior linebacker Carl Bradford],” Woods said.

Bradford compiled 11.5 sacks as a sophomore last season, and looks to match that performance this year.

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The matchup between the Badgers’ behemoth offensive line and the Sun Devils’ stout front seven will be a huge factor in deciding the outcome of this game, and Woods thinks his group is ready, noting that his guys has kept to their normal practice routine even with a solid step up in competition.

While ASU’s front seven have received a lot of praise, the Badgers continue to tout one of the best running games in the country under Andersen, averaging 390 rushing yards per game so far.

Senior running back James White and sophomore running back Melvin Gordon have asserted their dominance in their first two games, rushing for a combined 536 yards and four touchdowns.

However, one surprise has been the emergence of true freshman running back Corey Clement.

Against Tennessee Tech last week, the true freshman led the team in rushing with 149 yards on 13 carries, while also adding two touchdowns in the game.

Clement has eclipsed the 100 yard barrier in his first two college games for a total of 250 yards. He also has three touchdowns while averaging 8.6 yards per carry.

It was only three years ago that the three-headed monster of John Clay, Montee Ball, and a then-freshman White terrorized opposing defenses.

This year’s group has the same feel, with White providing the experience, Gordon acting as the emerging star and Clement dazzling as a freshman.

If this group wants to be mentioned in the same sentence as that group, they will first have to assert their will against Arizona State and show that their hot starts were no flukes.

The battle in the trenches will be a huge part of the game, but the main focus lies on sophomore quarterback Joel Stave’s performance.

Stave had solid performances in the first two contests, completing 71.7 percent of his passes for 416 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions.

The Wisconsin offense has a lot to prove this weekend, and it wants to make sure the rest of the country knows that they are for real.

Travelling into Pac-12 country for an early nonconference game is nothing new for most of the Badgers after playing Oregon State last season.

However, that game exposed a lot of Wisconsin’s weaknesses when Oregon St. held on for a 10-7 victory that jumpstarted their own respective season.

The Badgers look to reverse their fortunes this time and earn a strong victory outside of the Big Ten.

One big factor could be the Arizona heat, which is projected to be over 100 degrees Saturday night.

The Badgers’ offense hopes that it too will continue to heat up come Saturday night.

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