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PREVIEW: Miami (Ohio) at Wisconsin

SportsDirect Inc. Wisconsin may have dropped a season opener for only the sixth time in the last 26 seasons last week against Alabama, but losing at home against a non-conference foe has been a non-issue for nearly 12 years. The 24th-ranked Badge...

Joel Stave
Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Joel Stave (2) is chased out of the pocket by Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Ryan Anderson (22) in the second quarter at AT&T Stadium. (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

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Wisconsin may have dropped a season opener for only the sixth time in the last 26 seasons last week against Alabama, but losing at home against a non-conference foe has been a non-issue for nearly 12 years.

The 24th-ranked Badgers seek to win their 20th straight home opener and collect their 33rd consecutive home win against opponents outside the Big Ten on Saturday when they host Miami (Ohio).

One year after beginning the season with a soul-crushing loss to LSU in Houston, the SEC and the state of Texas proved to be too much again for Wisconsin, which fell 35-17 to the Crimson Tide at AT&T Stadium in Arlington last weekend.

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The Badgers’ vaunted ground game, which averaged 320.1 yards rushing a season ago, mustered only 40 in former offensive coordinator Paul Chryst’s first game as head coach.

However, Mid-American Conference opponents have typically provided a soft landing for Wisconsin, which hasn’t lost to a MAC foe since 1988 and is 30-2 all-time against the league.

The RedHawks collected their first season-opening win since 2007 with a 26-7 triumph over Presbyterian last Saturday, helping second-year coach Chuck Martin come within one victory of reaching last year’s win total.

 

TV: 11 a.m., ESPNU. LINE: Wisconsin -33.

 

About Miami (Ohio) (1-0)

Alonzo Smith, who is one of 62 freshmen on the roster, ran for 86 yards and two scores versus the Blue Hose, spearheading a 205-yard rushing effort that marked the most rushing yards the RedHawks have managed in 13 games under Martin.

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Drew Kummer went 14-of-19 for a career-high 255 yards in his first career start after throwing for a total of 320 yards over his first four seasons at the school.

Safety Brison Burris, who missed all of last season due to injury after making 23 straight starts from 2012-13, forced a critical fumble early in the game to save a touchdown.

 

About Wisconsin (0-1)

Injuries proved to be a big deal for the Badgers, who lost safety and team captain Michael Caputo three plays into the game with a concussion and saw running back Corey Clement limited to 16 yards on eight carries while he fought through a nagging groin injury.

Chryst told reporters that Caputo is going through the concussion protocol and said Clement could have “possibly” played more against Alabama, but that it would have been “a risk.”

Chryst noted displeasure with his defense’s lack of discipline and stated Caputo’s absence was not an excuse for the 17 missed tackles he counted after reviewing the film.

 

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Extra Points

1. The Badgers’ streak of 32 straight home non-conference victories is tied with Virginia Tech (1999-2009) for the eighth-longest run by a Division I program since 1946.

2. The RedHawks haven’t opened a season 2-0 since 2000 or won back-to-back games since 2012.

3. Wisconsin QB Joel Stave became only the sixth Badger to surpass 5,000 career passing yards and his 39 touchdown throws is the third-highest mark in school history.

PREDICTION: Wisconsin 49, Miami (Ohio) 10.

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