Badgers vs. Utah State Preview

Written by Garin Turner

Photo Credit: SaJorden Miller/The SkyBoat

The 2017 season is a mere 24 hours away for the Wisconsin Badgers as they open up the season at home against the Utah State Aggies out of the Mountain West Conference. The game starts 8pm central time and will air on ESPN. If you’re not able to watch the game, you can listen to it on Sirus 135/XM 195 or online at The Badgers start the season ranked 9th and will want to continue the success from last year that saw them finish 11-3 and a win in the Cotton Bowl against Western Illinois. The Badgers are looking to go back to back in opening games this year while the Aggies are seeking a third straight week one victory. In addition, the Badgers are seeking their 16th straight bowl appearance and they’d love to do so by playing in the National Championship.

The last time these two faced off was 2012 which was also played in Madison. The Badgers narrowly won that game 16-14 but certainly want to have a better performance in tomorrow’s game. The all-time series between the two is tied 1-1. The Badgers return 15 starters and this is the first time since 2013 that they’re opening the season at home. They have won 21 consecutive home openers dating back to 1996. Paul Chryst is looking for win 100 as a Badger coach. This is his third stint on the coaching staff.

Home Sweet Home
Wisconsin is in the midst of a 37-consecutive win streak at home against non-conference opponents. That’s the sixth-longest streak of any FBS team since 1946. It’s also the second-longest active streak behind LSU’s 47 straight non-conference wins at home. The last time the Badgers lost a non-conference game at Camp Randall Stadium was to UNLV back on Sept. 13, 2003.

Dating back to 2013, Wisconsin has held its non-conference opponents scoring average to 7.7 points a game. This includes four shutouts and also six games where the Badgers didn’t allow an offensive touchdown.

Returning players vs players lost
Wisconsin starters that are returning on offense: QB Alex Hornibrook, FB Austin Ramesh, TE Troy Fumagalli, WR Jazz Peavy, LG Jon Dietzen, C Michael Deiter, RG Beau Benzschawel, RT David Edwards. Lost on offense are RB Corey Clement, WR Robert Wheelwright, and LT Ryan Ramczyk.

For the Defensive starters: Wisconsin returns DE Conor Sheehy, NT Olive Sagapolu, DE Chikwe Obasih, ILB Jack Cichy, ILB T.J. Edwards, CB Derrick Tindal, and SS D’Cota Dixon.

The defensive starters who are gone this year are: OLB Vince Biegel, OLB T.J. Watt, CB Sojourn Shelton, and FS Leo Musso.

For special teams, the starters returning are: FG Rafael Gaglianone, KO P.J. Rosowski, and P Anthony Lotti. Gone from the team are K Andrew Endicott, and LS Connor Udelhoven.

Team Captains 2017: Senior ILB Jack Cichy. Cichy won’t be suiting up this season as he tore his ACL during practice on Aug. 8.

Junior OL Michael Deiter. Deiter makes the move to left tackle after two seasons manning the center and guard positions both as a starter.
Senior S D’Cota Dixon. This is Dixon’s second season as the starter at strong safety and he’s an inspirational leader of the Badgers’ secondary.

Senior TE Troy Fumaglli. Fumaglli is a preseason All-American who the Badgers look to as a dual weapon as both a receiver and a blocker.

Senior DE Conor Sheehy. Expected to be the cornerstone of the Badgers’ powerful defensive line.

Keys to Success

Wisconsin: The Badgers want to get off to a quick start in this one. Back in 2012 the Badgers trailed at halftime and it took an 82-yard punt return to get back into the game and then a go-ahead touchdown run. The Aggies missed a potential game winning 37-yard field goal to seal the win for the Badgers. The offensive line returns all but one starter so running the football is what the Badgers do and they’ll want to get that aspect of the game going sooner than later. Hornibrook doesn’t have to be lights out but he can’t make mistakes to allow the Aggies to hang around. A decent day passing will give the Aggies something to think about and won’t allow them to stack the box against the run.

The defense will want to oppose their will early and often. Last time against the Aggies, the defense gave up 308 yards, most of which was accumulated by the QB at the time, Chuckie Keeton.

Utah State: The Aggies have 16 starters back this year and will need to use their experience to come away with the upset in this one. They want to win this time and coming close isn’t good enough. Senior Kent Myers is a dual threat quarterback who will need to have similar results as Keeton to keep the Badgers defense guessing. Senior running back Tonny Lindsey Jr. lead the Aggies in rushing yards last year but won’t start in this game as fellow senior LaJuan Hunt gets the start in this one.
On the defensive side of things, the Aggies return 50 percent of its tackles from last season with the likes of seniors Dallin Leavitt and Alex Huerta. The Aggies will need a big game from these two to slow down the rushing attack of the Badgers.

Share This Story:

Related Content