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Breaking down Alabama vs. Wisconsin

On Sept. 5, 2015, the Alabama Crimson Tide will take on the Wisconsin Badgers at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. This will the first test in a daunting schedule for the Crimson Tide in the 2015 campaign. Alabama will have many questions to answer on September 5th but their opponents will have just as many questions to answers themselves.

The Badgers will have to replace 11 starters on both sides of the ball, and will also be entering the 2015 season with a new head coach in Paul Chryst, who replaces Gary Andersen after he left for Oregon State to be their new head coach. Chryst, a Wisconsin native and former quarterback for the Badgers, will look to feed off momentum from their Outback Bowl win versus the Auburn Tigers last season.

The team opens with an opponent from the Southeastern Conference for a second consecutive year, after facing the LSU Tigers in Houston, Texas last season. Wisconsin loss 28-24 against LSU in a game that featured two good running backs, Melvin Gordon and Leonard Fournette.

The Badgers would go on to win 10 of their next 11 games on the road to a Big Ten Championship game appearance and loss to the eventual national champions, the Ohio State Buckeyes. This season will be a big year for the Badgers as they try to find an identity on both sides of the ball.


Offense: The Badgers will have only five players returning players on offense, including Honorable Mention All-Big Ten center Dan Voltz. When it comes to the 2015 Badgers offense, consistency will be important factor.

Wisconsin will have to replace star running back and 1st Team All-Big 10 player Melvin Gordon who is now in the NFL. Wisconsin’s offensive line will have three new faces, as it loses Rob Havenstein and Kyle Costigan. Both players were first-team All-Big Ten lineman last season.

The Badger do return their quarterback Joel Stave, who started 10 games for the Badgers and will look to rebound off of a 9 touchdown and 10 interception season in which he passed for 1350 yards. Wisconsin will have to rely on the fact they have a former quarterback as their new head coach to develop Stave into a consistent quarterback.


Defense: Wisconsin will look much like the 2014 Badgers on the defensive side of the ball. It returns eight of their 11 starters, including second-team All-Big Ten defensive back Michael Caputo and first-team All-Big Ten linebacker Derek Landisch. Wisconsin was ranked second in scoring defense in the Big Ten averaging 20.8 per game last season, and the Badgers finished second in overall defense in the Big Ten Conference.

The Badgers also had the best pass defense in the entire conference, and finished with the fourth- best rush defense in the conference as well. With all the accolades, the Badgers finished ranked 13th in Big Ten play when it comes to red zone defense.

Wisconsin’s pass defense was ranked fifth nationally over the past two seasons. It finished 2014 ranked ninth in the nation. Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda looks to continue this production next season.


Analysis: Look for this first game of the 2015 season to be a measuring stick for both teams. For the Badgers this will be a major first test for their new head coach, and the revamped offensive line with two returning starters, going against the strongest positional group for the Crimson Tide, and their highly touted defensive line group.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Badgers will look to use their nine returning players, most of whom have played in big games before to be a catalyst against a Crimson Tide offense that will have a new quarterback, and new starting back, but a running back who has plenty of experience in Derrick Henry.

Look for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide to use this game as a platform to send a message to the rest of the nation, and to show just how powerful its defensive line can be. With a new face under center, Alabama looks to return to a balanced run game. It will be a key component in what many are hoping will be another successful season for the Tide.


Ivan L. White is a staff writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Facebook, via @ilwhite1.

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