One team will be knocked out of first place in the Big Ten Conference this weekend when the University of Wisconsin football team (8-1, 5-1 Big Ten) and Penn State (8-1, 5-1) clash at 2:30 p.m. CT Saturday at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa.
Heading into the 2005 season, neither squad was picked by the media to finish in the top four of the league. Now, if either school wins its final two games, they will claim no worse than a share of the Big Ten championship.
I felt Penn State would be a very good team, head coach Barry Alvarez said. They had a lot coming back offensively and had a lot of potential, and they signed a great class with some skilled players that everyone felt could contribute right away.
QB Michael Robinson has been a key player for the 10th/11th-ranked Nittany Lions. The senior has amassed 570 yards rushing with 10 touchdowns and also has thrown seven TDs. Last week against Purdue, Robinson accumulated 309 yards of total offense (213 yards passing, 96 rushing) to lead his team to a 33-15 victory.
On the other side of the ball, LB Paul Posluszny paces the squad with a whopping 94 tackles and 6.5 TFLs. This year he became the first player to ever win three consecutive Big Ten Player of the Week awards.
Posluszny is a major reason why PSUs scoring defense (16.1 ppg) and pass defense (192.9 ypg) are tops in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions are also second in rush defense (103.7 ypg) and sacks (27).
Subsequently, UWs offense, which is No. 1 in the league in scoring (39.7), will meet its greatest challenge this season. RB Brian Calhoun is coming off a 197-yard, five-touchdown performance against Illinois last week, while QB John Stocco enters the game having thrown for at least 200 yards and one TD on five straight Saturdays.
On defense, DT Nick Hayden, who has a team-best 3.5 sacks, will be looking to get some pressure on Robinson, as will DT Jason Chapman and DE Matthew Shaughnessy, both of whom share the team lead in QB hurries with five.
Saturdays contest will be televised live on ABC to 42 percent of the nation.
A win on Saturday would give UW its sixth nine-win season under head coach Barry Alvarez Coach Alvarez is 5-3 all-time against Penn State, including 3-1 in Beaver Stadium Wisconsin has won three of its last four road games against nationally ranked opponents.
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