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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 6

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Page 83 of 91

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 6 84 THREE THINGS 1 The Badgers finished the regular season 12-0 in 2017, tak- ing advantage of a sched- ule that avoided most of the heavy-hitters from the Big Ten East. That's not the case this year. The Bad- gers draw Penn State and Michigan as their toughest road games, but also travel to Iowa, Northwestern and Purdue. To ensure another trip to the Big Ten title game, Wisconsin probably needs to beat Michigan or Penn State (if not both). 2 The defense has been at or near the top of the pack for the last several seasons, but it lost a large number of playmakers. Most of the line is gone, along with both starting outside linebackers and three of four starters in the defensive backfield. The underclassmen who are primed to step in to those open spots are talented, but their over- all lack of experience is going to be a storyline until they prove they can hold their own. Look for teams to test that young secondary early and often — but the group could surprise by the end of the season. 3 The offense might score enough points to make up for the defense taking a bit of a step back. Wisconsin returns start- ing quarterback Alex Hornibrook (2,607 yards, 25 TDs), sophomore star running back Jonathan Taylor (1,977 yards), the entire offensive line and what some think is the deepest group of wide receivers and tight ends in a long time. Key players need to stay healthy, but there's a high ceiling on this group. It could be Wiscon- sin's most-balanced offense since Russell Wilson was under center in 2011. — John Veldhuis, writer at TIME: TBA | DATE: NOV. 17 | LOCATION: WEST LAFAYETTE, IND. | TV: TBA COACH: PAUL CHRYST (34-7, FOURTH SEASON) 2017 RECORD: 13-1 STARTERS RETURNING (OFFENSE/ DEFENSE): 10/3^ SERIES VS. PURDUE: 48-29-8 LAST MEETING: WISCONSIN, 17-9 ON OCT. 14, 2017, AT CAMP RANDALL STADIUM ^ ATHLON GBI EARLY L I N E : U W - 9 Game 11 | Wisconsin Wisconsin's 2018 Schedule 8/31 WEST. KENTUCKY 9/8 NEW MEXICO 9/15 BYU 9/22 at Iowa 10/6 NEBRASKA 10/13 at Michigan 10/20 ILLINOIS 10/27 at Northwestern 11/3 RUTGERS 11/10 at Penn State 11/17 at Purdue 11/24 MINNESOTA Dave Stluka Alex Hornibrook

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