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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, December 08, 2023

Wisconsin faces Georgia Southern in last week before key Big Ten matchups

Luke Fickell’s Wisconsin Badgers will host the Georgia Southern Eagles on Saturday in the second home game of the season. 

Coming off of a deflating loss to Washington State last weekend, Wisconsin will be looking for a feel-good win to end their non-conference schedule.

The Badgers dropped out of the AP Top 25 this week after losing to then-unranked Washington State — the second year in a row the formerly No. 19 Badgers fell to unranked Cougars. 

While a few main issues stuck out in Pullman — early defense, lack of passing efficiency and underutilizing Braelon Allen, just to name a few — Wisconsin will have a clean slate and a home crowd to help turn a new page of the season.

After selling out Camp Randall in a week one victory over Buffalo, Wisconsin will be prepared to display their offensive talents to another eager home crowd. Quarterback Tanner Mordecai will be fully loaded with his offensive playmakers to retake control of the air game on offense after throwing for just one touchdown last weekend.

Will Pauling and Chimere Dike have emerged as early favorite targets for Mordecai and currently lead the team in targets and receiving yards. And, with players like Bryson Green, C.J. Williams and Skylar Bell also in the deep receiving room, Mordecai has strong options anywhere on the field. 

However, the Badgers lost WR Keontez Lewis to the transfer portal Thursday afternoon after he finished third on the team in reception yards and touchdowns last season. 

On the ground, the Badgers may adjust the run game once again. Chez Mellusi found himself as the main running back with 12 carries compared to star back Braelon Allen’s seven against Washington State. 

While Mellusi has been stellar so far this season, there is hope that Allen will see his involvement revamped. Allen told BadgerExtra Tuesday that he spoke with Fickell about his role in the backfield and may appear more frequently in run game situations. 

For the Eagles, quarterback Davis Brin will be the key to success if they are to pull out a win at Camp Randall Stadium. With the Badgers’ secondary struggling to keep Cougars away from big gains in the air last week — 247 total passing yards for Washington State — the Eagles will look to go to the air, especially after Brin threw for 318 yards and two touchdowns against UAB last weekend. 

With the Badgers gearing up for their first conference road game at Purdue on Sept. 22, Saturday’s game should serve as a final call for the Badgers to get their act together before working towards conquering the Big Ten West.

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