The 1oth-ranked Wisconsin Badgers play their home opener on Saturday afternoon, taking on the Akron Zips in a 2:30 p.m. kickoff at Camp Randall Stadium.
The Badgers are looking to improve in the ball security department after turning the ball over three times against LSU in the opener. Two of the three turnovers came off interceptions from senior quarterback Bart Houston. The first came in the end zone, which took points away from the Badgers. The other was returned for a touchdown, which gave points to the other team.
Houston won the starting battle late in training camp over redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook. Take away the two picks and Houston looked good in leading the Badger offense. Now, the Badger coaches will be looking for him to clean up the turnovers this week.
Akron gives the Badgers a much different look than they got from LSU. They bring the spread offense to Camp Randall, led by quarterback Thomas Woodson. Woodson threw for 407 yards and six touchdowns in the Zips season opening 47-24 win over Virginia Military Institute. His favorite target was Jerome Lane, who caught ten passes for 196 yards and two scores.
The Zips are led by head coach Terry Bowden, who took over in Akron in 2012. After going 1-11 his first season, Bowden went 5-7 the next two. Last season, they finished 8-5, including a 23-21 victory over Utah State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. In 2014, the Zips beat Paul Chryst’s Pitt Panthers 21-10.
The Badgers are 25-point favorites to win their home opener on Saturday, but their defense will have to be ready to defend a much more balanced offense that can hit you from a number of different areas.
Wisconsin is 30-2 overall against teams currently in the Mid-American Conference. They’re 2-0 against the Zips.