Georgia rush offense vs. Wisconsin rush defense
Danny Ware and Thomas Brown will share time for the Bulldogs. Ware has practiced well since breaking his hand against Georgia Tech and is expected to play wearing a small cast on his right hand. The cast hasn’t bothered him in practice, his coaches say. The Badgers’ rush defense is ranked 24th in the nation and part of the reason is they commit a lot of people to the run game and play man-to-man coverage on the outside. Weakside linebacker Dontez Sanders is the Badgers’ leading tackler, and he has 10 tackles for loss this year.
Wisconsin rush offense vs. Georgia rush defense
Badger back Anthony Davis has the potential for 200-yard games anytime he’s healthy, which hasn’t been often this year. The bad news for Georgia is he appears to be near full strength entering today’s game. The 5-foot-8, 205-pounder is the sixth-leading rusher in Big Ten history. Wisconsin’s offensive line is led by second-team All-America guard Dan Buenning. Expect the Badgers to run inside behind Buenning and play to their strength -- power. Although Davis is a quick back, the Badgers don’t want to test the Bulldogs’ speed on the outside.
Georgia pass offense vs. Wisconsin pass defense
Quietly, Georgia is licking its chops when it sees the Badgers’ pass defense. Wisconsin ranked sixth in the nation this year in pass defense, but it hasn’t seen the number of athletes that Georgia can line up on the perimeter. The Badgers play the same type of pass coverage that LSU plays, Georgia coach Mark Richt said, and the Bulldogs had five passing touchdowns against the Tigers. Free safety Jim Leonhard, a former walk-on, is Wisconsin’s best player in the secondary, but the biggest problem for the Bulldogs will be blocking All-America defensive end Erasmus James. Both of Georgia’s starting offensive tackles have had lapses this year, and James can take advantage of any opening.
Wisconsin pass offense vs. Georgia pass defense
Badger starting quarterback John Stocco is a senior but has only started one season and has never seen a defense as fast as the one Georgia will show him. “Anytime you come into a game against a young quarterback, you want to make him as uncomfortable as possible,” Georgia safety Thomas Davis said. However, that was Georgia’s plan against Tennessee’s Erik Ainge, too, and it didn’t work out well that day. No Badger has more than two receiving touchdowns this season. Junior wide receiver Brandon Williams is the leading pass-catcher with 39 grabs for 461 yards. Despite their reputation for power football, Wisconsin probably will spread the field a few times today with multiple wide receivers.
Just like Georgia, Wisconsin has no one who stands out on special teams. Statistically, the Badgers’ biggest threat is safety Jim Leonhard, who ranks fourth in the Big Ten in punt returns with 12.8 yards per return. The Bulldogs’ special teams have been a roller coaster all season and it has had more valleys than peaks. Brandon Coutu will kick field goals and extra points for Georgia today. He has only one career kick attempt, a 44-yard field goal he made in the season finale against Georgia Tech after former starter Andy Bailey was pulled from the game.
Not even Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez has put up much fight against the notion that Georgia will be the most athletic team on the field today. Wisconsin will have a slight power advantage, but the Bulldogs have shown the ability to stuff a power running game. All the tangible factors point toward a relatively easy Bulldog win, but that’s not the only thing to consider. Georgia expected to be playing in a BCS bowl game this year, and it’s reasonable to question their motivation level. If they go through the motions, like they did in a Music City Bowl loss to Boston College three years ago or the second half of last year’s Capital One Bowl against Purdue, they’ll lose. The best guess here is that seniors David Greene and David Pollack will get them up for one more game. Georgia 24, Wisconsin 9.