Auburn Football: Five Wisconsin Badgers to Watch in the Outback Bowl

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Sep 20, 2014; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers safety Michael Caputo (7) during the game against the Bowling Green Falcons at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin won 68-17. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin Badgers Safety Michael Caputo

The Auburn football team has one of the best offenses in college football. The Tigers lead the SEC in rushing, and quarterback Nick Marshall, a true dual threat as a runner and a passer, set a school record with 456 passing yards in the team’s most recent game – a 55-44 loss to Alabama. Simply put, Auburn has plenty of offensive weapons that make them very difficult to defend.

Also, Wisconsin gave up quite a few big pays to Ohio State in their 59-0 loss in the Big Ten Championship Game. The Buckeyes had touchdown passes of 39, 44 and 42 yards.

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“With the type of defense we were playing, against a team like that, we had to have more change-ups and [defensive coordinator Dave] Aranda has addressed that,” cornerbacks coach Ben Strickland said this week. “We just need to give our kids a better chance by changing the picture for the quarterback.”

Therefore, a safety with the ability to cover dynamic receivers in the passing game as well as contribute as a run stopper, will be key for the Wisconsin defense.

Someone like senior safety Michael Caputo.

Often playing near the line of scrimmage, Caputo leads Wisconsin with 99 total tackles this season, including 58 solo stops. The junior captain has been very active this season for the Badgers with five tackles for a loss and an interception, has registered two forced fumbles and recovered four as well.

The 6-foot-1, 212-pound Caputo is a second team All-Big Ten selection. And while he might not have premium speed, he’s had success against SEC offenses. In the season opener, the strong safety had 15 tackles against LSU. He should be just as active against Auburn.

Next: Wisconsin Linebacker Derek Landisch