After two weeks of relatively easy opponents, the Badgers face a significant improvement in their competition as they head to Tempe to take on ASU.
“They’ve spent enough time watching Arizona State, and trust me, they understand the level of competition is stepping up,” Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen said.“I think they’ve waited for this moment.They’re excited about the moment.”
Wisconsin senior running back James White, who has run for more than 100 yards in back-to-back games, is definitely excited about the moment.
“We’re ready for a challenge,” White said. “They have a great defense, great offense, so our coach is going to put in a great game plan, and we’re going to try to execute it.”
One of the marquee battles of the game will play itself out with Wisconsin’s running game led by a mammoth offensive line, which averages 322-pounds per lineman, against ASU’s defensive front headed by 305-pound consensus All-American Will Sutton.
“I’m sure it’s an exciting time or it should be an exciting time for Arizona State’s defensive line,” Andersen said. “And for our guys to be able to know that they’re going to be able to play against an Arizona State defensive line and front seven that’s been very stout and comes highly touted.”
White said he is confident in his and his team’s abilities to run the ball against the Sun Devils’ vaunted front seven.
“We have a great offensive line (and) great receivers that do a great job blocking for me,” White said. “I mean if we’re all on the same page (and we) work hard during practice, then we’ll finish it.”
While one challenge is on the field between Wisconsin’s offensive line and the Sun Devils’ front seven, the other challenge faced by the Badgers will come from what is sure to be a raucous Sun Devil Stadium.
The Badgers are the opponent for the Sun Devils first blackout game of the year.
While Wisconsin’s defense is used to their own loud stadium, the roles are now reversed to their offense.
“We have to prepare for crowd noise whether we’re playing at home or whether we’re playing away,” Andersen said. “That’s what happens when you’re in big time college football. Now this flips to the offense a little bit more.We’ll think about it a little more.We’ll focus in on it a little bit more.”
Andersen, not knowing of the blackout, plans to go the opposite direction.
“I don’t know anything about a blackout or whatever it may be, so we’ll be in all white,” Andersen said.“So we’ll carry our own whiteout with us, I guess.”
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