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Indiana University

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Wisconsin running back James White is half of the Badgers’ dynamic running duo.

College football preview: Indiana at No. 17 Wisconsin

Records: Hoosiers (4-5, 2-3 Big Ten); Badgers (7-2, 4-1)

When: Noon today

Where: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wis.

TV: ESPN2

Radio: 1250 AM; 102.9 FM; Sirius 135; XM 196

On the Web: To watch a video preview for the game, go to “Eyeing IU” at www.journalgazette.net

3 matchups to watch

IU running game vs. Wisconsin run defense: The Hoosiers suffered a big loss during their win Saturday against Illinois. Starting running back Tevin Coleman, who had 215 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries against the Illini, suffered an ankle sprain and likely won’t play today. That leaves senior running back Stephen Houston, junior D’Angelo Roberts and a pair of walk-ons in Anthony Davis and Andrew Wilson. Wisconsin has one of the toughest defenses in the country, and much of that has to do with a run defense that gives up just 98.4 yards per game. Without Coleman, who leads the country in plays longer than 40 yards and had two 60-plus-yard touchdowns against Illinois, IU has to find someone to make some explosive plays.

IU offensive line vs. Wisconsin pass rush: The Badgers average about 2 1/2 sacks per game, and IU has shuffled players in and out all season because of season-ending injuries to Dan Feeney and Peyton Eckert, who were both starters last season. The backups have played well, but with a run-stifling defense in front of it and a serious contributor to that phase injured, the Hoosiers will need to be at their best today. Sophomore quarterback Nate Sudfeld and redshirt sophomore Tre Roberson don’t need a ton of time, but negative plays in the passing game coupled with the lack of a run game would spell disaster for IU. The Badgers are pretty stingy against passing offenses, too. They’ve given up less than 200 yards per game on average this season.

IU run defense vs. Wisconsin running back duo: An IU front seven that gives up 217.4 yards per game will face the best running back tandem in the Big Ten. Melvin Gordon and James White have combined for 2,011 yards and 22 touchdowns on 293 carries, and the Badgers average 280 rushing yards per game. That doesn’t bode well for a Hoosiers defense that ranks 10th in the Big Ten and sits in the bottom quarter of the FBS.

Prediction: Wisconsin 45, Indiana 35

smorrison@jg.net

– Sean Morrison, The Journal Gazette

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