WNUR’s Predictions for Northwestern vs. Wisconsin

The WNUR Sports staff weighs in with their predictions for this Saturday’s football game between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Ohio State Buckeyes. If you want in on the action, simply leave your prediction in the comments below, or you can tweet them @WNURSports.

Joe Misulonas (@jmisulonas): Northwestern 34, Wisconsin 24. Northwestern’s coming off a tough loss, but they know they can play with the best in the nation. They’ll prove it by beating the Badgers on the road by double digits. Player to Watch: Mack Brown. WHAT? Hear me out: If Texas gets blown out by Oklahoma for the third straight year in the Red River Rivalry, there’s a very good chance Brown gets fired. So, what does that have to do with Northwestern? Fitz is already been mentioned as a prospective candidate for the Texas job, and Mack hasn’t been fired yet! Texas loses, Mack’s fired, and suddenly Northwestern has a two month distraction of “Will Fitz leave or Won’t he?”

Zach Kisfalusi (@zKisfalusi): Wisconsin and Northwestern look to both run the ball in a hostile environment this Saturday. Northwestern gets back on track thanks to their track star running back Venric Mark. Northwestern 24 – Wisconsin 21. Player to watch: Damien Proby.

Jim Sannes (@JimSannes): Northwestern, 38-32. The Northwestern rush defense will determine the outcome of this game. They don’t have to stop Melvin Gordon and James White – they just need to prevent them from going over 200 combined yards, which is no small task. Player to Watch: Will Hampton.

Christian Flores (@Mr_C_G_Flores): Northwestern 35 Wisconsin 31. The ‘Cats are not happy about losing to the Buckeyes. With one big game down, Northwestern won’t be a deer in the headlights for this game. Player to watch: C.J. Robbins (if Sean McEvily is a no-go again).

Cameron Songer (@CameronSonger): Wisconsin 31, Northwestern 24. This will be a close game, but I just don’t see Northwestern winning in Madison. Northwestern’s struggles in defending the run against Ohio State does not bode well for this weekend. Player to watch: Drew Meyer. ‘Cats fans should be happy every time Wisconsin sends out the punter, but field position will be especially key against the Badgers. Against Ohio State, Northwestern started a drive on its own 1 and had a punt blocked. The ‘Cats should hang around for most of the game, with the final score being decided by a few little things.

Jeffrey Eisenband (@JeffEisenband): 34-24 Northwestern. This is going to be a statement game for Northwestern. Last week, the ‘Cats came close to breaking through on a national stage, but this week will be the breaking point. Northwestern handles Wisconsin fairly easily and proves it really is as good as it played versus Ohio State. Player to watch: Damien Proby.

Tralon Williams (@itsyaboytray): This IS a must win game for NU. The odds of running the table in the B1G after starting 0-2 is very slim. They will have to keep Wisconson under 4 YPC and pick on a weak Wisconsin secondary. Expect Camp Randall to be a factor. Score: 24-20 Northwestern. PTW: Christian Jones. Tony Jones and Rashad Lawrence have had huge games. Time for this core to truly become the fearsome threesome.

Ben Goren: I have sucked at picking this year, and I expect this game to be no different. Wisconsin will rip the hearts out of Northwestern despite Dan Vitale’s 67 yard game with 2 scores. Wisconsin 38, Northwestern 34.

Nick Scoliard: Wisconsin 28 Northwestern 24 – Northwestern was not good against the run last game giving up 168 yards and 3 scores to Carlos Hyde. That won ‘t change as the best running tandem in the nation, Melvin Gordon and James White, will run all over the ‘Cats to get the victory. Player to Watch: White. He’s more of a Sproles/Bush RB that runs a lot of check downs, and expect him to put up big receiving and big rushing numbers.

Kevin Harris (@KevinGoesCats): 31-27 Wisconsin. While the Wildcats proved they can compete with anyone in the Big Ten, let alone the country, last weekend, it’s going to be hard for them to pick their heads up and win in Madison where the Badgers have a 58-6 record since 2004. Northwestern won’t be able to stop the Wisconsin dynamic running game and will lose the crucial turnover battle, leading to yet another fourth quarter blown lead. Player to watch: Kain Colter. Will he play out wide more?

Jason Dorow (@jasondorow): Northwestern, 30-27. The ‘cats are bound to have issues against the Wisconsin ground game, as they did last week facing Ohio State and Carlos Hyde. However, NU will make up for it with turnovers and an efficient offensive attack. ‘Cats narrowly sneak by the Badgers at Camp Randall. Player to watch: Melvin Gordon. The sophomore running back for Wisconsin has already totaled nearly 700 yards rushing this year. Northwestern will need to keep him in check to win this game.

Ari Ross (@aross50): Northwestern, 31-27. Northwestern will come out gearing to stop Wisconsin’s run game, and play the game very similar to how the Buckeyes did against the Badgers two weeks ago. They will load up the box in an attempt to stop the run, and double cover Jared Abbrederis, slowing down Wisconsin’s offense. The offense should be able to put up points against Wisconsin’s defense, leading to a Wildcat victory in Camp Randall. Player to Watch: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin. Northwestern cannot let the two-headed running back monster of Gordon and James White run all over Northwestern’s defense like Carlos Hyde did. Northwestern’s defense must slow them down for them to have any chance at a victory.

Ryan Fish (@TheFishTweets): Wisconsin 27, Northwestern 24. I think the atmosphere in Camp Randall will be electric and the ‘Cats may still be a bit worn down by coming so close to beating OSU only to come up empty. But I see it as another exciting game and the score could very well go the other way. Player to watch: Wisconsin WR Jared Abbrederis.

Jasper Scherer (@jaspsch): Northwestern 38, Wisconsin 31. Picking a winner in this game is no easy task, but you can at least be sure that this will be a high-scoring affair. The Wildcats boast one of the Big Ten’s best offenses, but they also allow more passing yards than any other team. The key will be how well Wisconsin can protect the ball, as Northwestern relies heavily on creating turnovers. Wisconsin does have the huge advantage of playing at home, but Northwestern’s offensive weapons will be too much for the Badgers to overcome, as Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian should have no trouble picking apart the Badgers’ suspect secondary. Player to Watch: Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon. Gordon is coming off a knee injury that limited him to 74 yards against Ohio State, but he will be determined to make up for his lackluster performance. Expect the ‘Cats to have trouble containing the sophomore running back, especially after allowing 248 rushing yards to Ohio State last week.

Erik Bremer: 27-20 Northwestern. The Wildcats will be out for blood after their defeat on Homecoming. Look for a strong offensive attack and higher red zone efficiency. Player to watch: Venric Mark.

John Beers: Northwestern has been outscored 135-44 in their last three trips to Camp Randall. I guess that’s why they don’t call it Northern Hospitality. With that bitter taste in their mouth and the bitterness left over from the loss to Ohio State, Northwestern should have plenty of motivation and will take down the Badgers, 17-10, in a defensive battle. Linebacker Collin Ellis will lead Northwestern’s efforts in slowing down the nation’s 7th ranked rushing attack and the explosive Melvin Gordon III.

Michael Stern: Wisconsin wins 24-19. Northwestern’s struggles to score in the red zone and stop the run haunt them again, as the ‘Cats settle for field goals often and have trouble containing Melvin Gordon and James White. Players to watch: Derek and TJ Watt, Wisconsin. They’re JJ’s younger brothers, enough said.

Jesse Kirsch (@JesseRKirsch): Northwestern wins, 24-21. Despite the final score on Saturday, the Wildcats played a tighter game against OSU than the Badgers. With something still to prove, Northwestern could explode out of the gate and put up a big stand at Wisconsin. Budzien wins it by a field goal with 10 seconds left. The Wildcats will have trouble with the run game (as always), so look out for Melvin Gordon to put up high rushing totals for the Badgers.

Matt Cowen (@mattcowen13): Northwestern 32, Wisconsin 29
‘Cats passing attack shreds Badger secondary like Wisconsin cheese, and NU holds off UW ground game long enough to escape Camp Randall with a W. Player to Watch: Trevor Siemian – NU turned to him in the second half against Ohio State, and look for more of the same against Wisconsin, as Wildcats will look to attack primarily through the air against mediocre Wisconsin secondary.

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