Outback Bowl: Auburn Football vs Wisconsin Preview and Prediction

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Nov 15, 2014; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Melvin Gordon (25) rushes with the football during the third quarter against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin won 59-24. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin’s Keys to Victory

1. Rely on the passing game as a last resort. No, Auburn’s secondary isn’t very strong overall, but it has shown a knack for making plays and forcing turnovers. The Tigers’ cornerback tandem, Jonathan Jones and Jonathon Mincy, were both named 2nd-team All-SEC by the league’s coaches.

In 13 games, Wisconsin QBs Joel Stave and Tanner McEvoy combined for a 14-13 TD-INT ratio. In the Big Ten Championship, Wisconsin threw 43 passes and completed only 17 with 3 picks. The Badgers can run the ball very well (4th in the FBS in rushing with 314 yards per game), and Melvin Gordon was obviously a Heisman finalist. Auburn can be run on. Wisconsin should stick with the run as often as possible.

2. Put the Ohio State game out of memory, especially on defense. Ohio State rolled up 558 yards and 59 on the Badgers in Indianapolis, but don’t be fooled; that was an aberration by Wisconsin’s defense. The Badgers still have the 4th-ranked defense in the FBS, allowing just 283 yards and 20 points per game. Yes, the Ohio State game was bad. But if you’re Wisconsin, you have to forget about it.

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  • It can be easy for a terrible game to mentally affect a defense to the point that they can’t recover. A good example of this would be Auburn, whose defense never recovered after allowing 38 points against Mississippi State in Starkville. Auburn’s offense is among the SEC’s best. Wisconsin can’t afford to be mentally fragile defensively and only make matters worse.

    3. Get Corey Clement involved in the run game. Everyone likes to look at Melvin Gordon, and for good reason (2,336 yards and 26 scores). However, Wisconsin needs to rely on other players, especially since Gordon is now recovering from an illness that could affect his performance.

    The Badgers have a great running back behind Gordon in Corey Clement, who has 132 carries for 844 yards and 9 touchdowns. As I said before, Wisconsin will need to run the ball almost constantly to be effective, but they can’t ride a recently-sick Gordon too hard. The more Clement is involved in this game, the better.

    Next: Auburn's Keys to Victory