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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Wisconsin might turn to Bradrick Shaw to fill in at running back today if top rusher Jonathan Taylor is limited.

Saturday, November 04, 2017 1:00 am

Hoosiers must deliver punches against Badgers

MICHAEL MAROT | Associated Press

Indiana vs. Wisconsin

When: Noon today

Where: Memorial Stadium, Bloomington

TV: ABC

Radio: 1190 AM

Indiana already knows what to expect today.

No. 4 Wisconsin will play the heavy as it tries to keep its perfect season intact. So the Hoosiers must find some solid counterpunches to avoid getting knocked around, knocked down and knocked out.

“They have a stable of running backs,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said. “They keep rotating them in and pound you, pound you, pound you, pound you, and try to beat you into submission in the course of a game.”

Fortunately for the Hoosiers (3-5, 0-5 Big Ten), this is not the octagon.

But it is an all-too-familiar scenario against a big, bruising team that relies on smashmouth football.

So far, Indiana has hung tough in most of its tests.

The Hoosiers went toe-to-toe with No. 2 Ohio State for almost three full quarters in the season opener and then limited Virginia to 55 yards on the ground. No. 18 Michigan State rushed for only 89 yards, and Heisman Trophy contender Saquon Barkley had 56 yards rushing for No. 4 Penn State.

The problem is, Indiana also has a propensity for wearing down.

It happened late against the Buckeyes and against No. 17 Michigan, which ran for more than 250 yards in an overtime win. Last week, Maryland, which possesses neither the size nor the determination to run like Wisconsin, ran for 174 yards.

The Badgers (8-0, 5-0, No. 9 CFP) head into the weekend No. 16 in the nation in rushing offense at 245.8 yards per game. Indiana, which ranks 30th in total defense, is No. 62 against the run (162 ypg).

“They've got a real sound defense,” Wisconsin offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph said. “I like what they play. They also do a really good job of having some real good changeups and pressures off of it. That gives them a real easy flow and a good mix.”

Still, this might not be the same Badgers team many are accustomed to seeing.

Freshman running back Jonathan Taylor, the Big Ten's leading rusher at 148.5 yards per game, is listed as questionable with an injured left leg.

If his workload is reduced or he can't play, the Badgers are likely to look to former starter Bradrick Shaw and redshirt freshman Garrett Groshek to fill in.

But the Hoosiers understand it doesn't matter who plays. To end their five-game conference losing streak, they can't just take punches. They have to hit back.

“Pretty good combination,” Allen said, referring to the Badgers' ball-control offense and suffocating defense.

Here is another thing to watch for today:

Hall of famers

Indiana will induct its newest class of hall of famers, and two are former football players.

Receiver Ernest Jones and linebacker Ken Kaczmarek are among the group that will be honored at halftime.

The other inductees are Keith Smart (men's basketball), who is best known for making the winning shot in the 1987 NCAA championship game, Danielle Carruthers (women's track & field), Isabella Hutchison (women's administrator) and Don Padgett II (men's golf).