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Badger Preview: Florida Atlantic at Wisconsin

Wisconsin Badgers running back Bradrick Shaw (7) carries the ball against the Utah State Aggies at Camp Randall Stadium. (Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports)


Wisconsin did nothing to suggest it didn’t deserve its lofty preseason ranking with a 59-10 drubbing of Utah State in the season opener last week. The 11th-ranked Badgers will try to roll over another opponent as the heavy favorite when they host Florida Atlantic on Saturday.

Wisconsin came out slow in its opener and went into halftime tied at 10 before putting everything together on both sides of the ball after the break.

“There’s a lot of lessons in that game for us,” Badgers coach Paul Chryst told reporters. “Fortunately, we were able to play a lot of players and there’s going to be things that each guy that played did well, and we’ve got to build on that, and certainly a number of areas where we have got to clean up to be the best team we can be.”

Wisconsin is the preseason favorite to win the Big Ten West and first-year defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard showed his defense will be just as strong as in years past by forcing four turnovers in Week 1.

The Owls have their own new face on the coaching staff with Lane Kiffin in as head coach, and his debut was not quite as successful as FAU was run over by Navy 42-19 in Week 1.

TV: 11 a.m., Big Ten Network.

Radio: WDSM 710 AM.

Line: Wisconsin -31.5.

About Florida Atlantic (0-1)

Kiffin left his job as the offensive coordinator of perennial National Championship contender Alabama to take over the Owls and is trying to turn around an offense that finished 86th in FBS in total offense last season.

Kiffin could barely get his offense on the field against Navy, which controlled possession for 39 minutes and 47 seconds while rumbling to 526 yards.

Owls quarterback Daniel Parr was strong in defeat, throwing for 281 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 19-of-30 passing.

About Wisconsin (1-0)

The Badgers offense found a new weapon in the opener in freshman running back Jonathan Taylor, who ran for 87 yards on just nine carries while adding a touchdown.

Sophomore quarterback Alex Hornibrook was sharp and completed 15-of-23 passes for 244 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions while hitting seven different receivers in the easy win.

“We’ve got a lot of weapons out there and we tried to use all of them tonight,” Hornibrook said. “I feel confident that every guy that’s going out there can make a play for us.”

Extra points

  1. Wisconsin is riding a streak of 38 straight home wins against non-conference opponents.
  2. The Owls reinstated WR Kalib Woods, who faces battery charges from a fight in January, but will not have him on scholarship.
  3. Badgers quarterbacks did not throw an interception in any of the last seven games, dating back to last season.


PREDICTION: Wisconsin 48, Florida Atlantic 14.