November 24, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Both Penn State and Wisconsin have strong front sevens and are good against the run. The Nittany Lions allow 3.5 yards per carry, while the Badgers limit opponents to 106.6 yards per game on the ground. But while the teams are pretty even in the trenches against the run, Penn State has a slight edge in its linemen's ability to get after the quarterback. Penn State has eight more sacks than Wisconsin does this season, and the pass rush is led by defensive end Deion Barnes, who has taken down the quarterback six times in 2012.
Advantage: Penn State
Michael Mauti will be sidelined against the Badgers with a left knee injury, so Mike Hull will get the start in his place. Mauti's shoes are big to fill, but with four sacks, a blocked punt and a fumble return for a touchdown, Hull has shown a knack for big plays this season. And with Gerald Hodges and Glenn Carson beside him, Penn State's linebacking corps is strong as usual, but so is Wisconsin's. Mike Taylor has 104 tackles this season, while Chris Borland leads the team with four sacks. If Mauti was healthy, Penn State has the edge here, but since that's not the case, it's an even playing field.
The Lions are also hit with a key injury in the secondary. Malcolm Willis missed last week's game with a banged up knee, and he is listed as "day-to-day" for today's contest. Jake Fagnano and Ryan Kesier filled in for Willis at safety as the secondary was busy against a pass-heavy Indiana offense. Adrian Amos made his second interception of the season last week, but he continues to be the only defensive back with a pick this season. The Badgers are led in the defensive backfield by Devin Smith, who has three interceptions and 54 tackles. Wisconsin has also held its opposition to 196.3 passing yards per game.