It was an interesting year to say the least for the Wisconsin Badgers. The Badgers (9-3, 6-2) finished third in the Big Ten West Division and lost to two teams that finished in the top 10 in the CFB rankings. They also took advantage of a soft schedule and will be looking to win their second bowl game in a row. USC has dominated the all-time meetings between the two schools as the Trojans have won all six prior meetings. Let's take a look at the team from Madison:
When you think of Wisconsin football, you think of a run-first offense with big bodies on the o-line that averages over 250 yards on the ground per game. That hasn't been the case this year as statistically, Wisconsin is on pace to have their lowest rushing total since 2006. The Badgers have a young offensive line and Corey Clement was supposed to be a star this year after Melvin Gordon went to the NFL, but Clement battled injuries and off the field issues all year. Clement should play in the Holiday Bowl but if not, the Trojans can expect to see a heavy dose of Dare Ogunbowale (181 carries, 769 yards, seven touchdowns) and Taiwan Deal (115 carries, 495 yards, six touchdowns). Joel Stave had an up and down 2015 season as the signal caller for the Badgers. Stave threw for 2,470 yards and 10 touchdowns but had 11 interceptions. With a struggling running game, Stave was forced to throw a lot more this season than he probably expected. Wide receiver Alex Erickson was by far Stave's favorite target (72 receptions, 924 yards, three touchdowns) and the senior had nine games in 2015 with at least 70 receiving yards. This offense only scored 30 points four times this season so a high-scoring affair against USC will probably not work in their favor. Wisconsin is going to run the ball and similar to Stanford, try and control the clock.
Wisconsin led the nation in scoring defense at just 13.1 points per game and were third in total defense, allowing 267.1 yards per game. The Badgers have two stud linebackers in Vince Biegel and Joe Schobert. Schubert led the team with 18.5 tackles for a loss and 9.5 sacks while Biegel was second on the team with 14 tackles for a loss and eight sacks. If there is one member of the secondary USC quarterback Cody Kessler should avoid, it's quarterback turned safety Tanner McEvoy. McEvoy led the team with six interceptions, including four in his last three games.