The Wisconsin football program will bring a physical style of play both on offense and defense. The Badgers are headlined by a solid running back unit and playmaking linebackers, which have placed Wisconsin as one of the best defenses in the country. Here are the players to watch for Wisconsin:
#86 WR Alex Erickson: Erickson will not be the fastest or biggest receiver the Trojans' secondary has seen this year but he is still a great wideout. The second team All-Big Ten wideout possesses the ability to get open due to his crisp route running. Erickson is Stave's favorite target, catching 72 balls for 924 yards and three touchdowns. What I like about Erickson is that he's more than a "possession receiver" as he can catch the ball and gain additional yards with his quickness. Erickson plays with the mentality that he's going to out work any player on the field, so it will be best if Iman Marshall and Adoree Jackson locks in on the film this week.
#23 RB Dare Ogunbowale: Ogunbowale is praised in this Wisconsin's offense for his ability to hit the hole and get to the second level in a hurry. Dare does not go down after the first initiation of contact, as he specializes in keeping his feet moving and plowing for extra yards. Dare also possesses enough speed to break away from defenders as well as make one cut and get up the field. The redshirt junior went from a walk-on corner to the Badgers starting tailback, rushing for 769 yards and seven touchdowns on only 181 carries.
#28 RB Taiwan Deal: When it comes to Deal's running style, I can describe it in two words: seek and destroy. The big body freshman uses his 220-pound frame to march up field and bring defenders with him, as he can excel in short-yardage situations or first down. Deal has 495 yards and six touchdowns on the season and will be given the ball early against this Trojan defense. Expect to see a lot of Taiwan on third down, goal line, and when the Badgers really want to try to tire out USC's front seven. If the Trojans do not swarm to the ball and blow their gap coverage, expect Deal to have a career day.
#53 MLB T.J. Edwards: Edwards will anchor the middle of this physical Wisconsin defense as the All-Big Ten Freshman has 80 tackles on the year. Edwards has the ability to read a play and step into his gap, usually a brick wall against running backs. His strength and size also gives him the ability to shed blockers off and meet the ball carrier in the backfield as he has recorded 5.5 tackles for a loss.
#58 OLB Joe Schobert: When you have a linebacker that can cause havoc for your left and right tackles, things can get complicated fast. Schobert was named second team All-American by the Associated Press, but his 76 tackles and 18.5 tackles for loss say otherwise. The first team All-Big Ten linebacker is a major threat at the outside position, as he has the ability to run through or around the offensive line with the combination of strength and quickness. Schobert has recorded 9.5 sacks this year along with four forced fumbles. Expect Banner to stay very active throughout the night.
#47 OLB Vince Biegel: Schobert's right hand man lies in his fellow outside linebacker Vince Biegel, who has a motor that runs non-stop. Biegel will play with a huge chip on his shoulder as he was slated in as a third team All-Big Ten conference performer. Biegel plays with heart and tenacity as he has tallied 64 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, and eight sacks. Biegel and Schobert will be pushing each other all four quarters to meet each other in the backfield.
#7 S Michael Caputo: The hard-hitting safety leads the Badgers secondary, as he has the ability to cover or come up and shut down the run. Caputo will enter the Holiday Bowl with 58 tackles, two interceptions, six pass deflections, and two forced fumbles. Look for Caputo to keep his focus on JuJu Smith-Schuster and help contribute to this run-stopping defense.