Bowl Breakdown: Outback
The Badgers, as has long been their M.O., lived by the run this season. Sixty-two percent of their offensive plays came on the ground. But will workhorse back
Wisconsin's defense took a significant step back after ranking fifth in the nation in total defense in '06. It gave up 97.3 more yards per game in '07 (350.4 yards as opposed to 253.1) and dropped to 36th. Senior defensive end
The Volunteers have been incredibly proficient at protecting quarterback
Tennessee was also damaged on the defensive end by academic ineligibility: it will be missing its second-leading tackler, linebacker
This Outback has to be somewhat of a letdown for the Vols, who were on the verge of a conference title and BCS berth, but squandered a fourth-quarter lead against LSU in the SEC championship game. Missing out on the BCS was a long-accepted fate for the Badgers, who lost back-to-back Big Ten games to Illinois and Penn State on the first two weekends in October, and therefore should have an easier time getting up for this game. And while Wisconsin's secondary is likely to be exploited by Ainge's arm, the Badgers will counter with enough scoring strikes from Donovan to Beckum, and a big combined rushing day between Hill, Brown and Smith.