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Free Pick: Wisconsin vs. Notre Dame at Chicago 9/25/21

Free Pick: Wisconsin vs. Notre Dame at Chicago 9/25/21

Wisconsin has had two weeks to get ready for this one and enter the game with a record of 1-1. They opened the season with a loss at home to Penn State before beating Eastern Michigan. Notre Dame is 3-0 and have won two close games that came down to the wire and beat Purdue 27-13 last Saturday. This is the first meeting between these two teams since 1964 and only the 17th time in history. The game will be played in historic Soldier Field in Chicago and is one of the feature games of the week.

Scouting the Badgers: Wisconsin is traditionally a run-first, pass later or if you have too type of team. They are physical upfront and usually feature a big, bruising running back. Quarterback, Graham Mertz has completed 36 of 54 passes but has also thrown 2 interceptions and his longest throw has been for 23 yards. They are led in rushing by Chez Mellusi who has gained 265 yards on 51 carries for 2 touchdowns. The Badgers have rushed for 588 yards in the first two games. Wide receivers, Danny Davis and Kendrick Pryor, and tight end Jake Ferguson are more than capable receivers for Mertz to get the ball to. Defensively, the Badgers have been as stingy as ever, allowing 33 yards per game rushing and just under 200 yards total. That will win a lot of games but remember these statistics are after just two games.

Scouting the Irish: Offensively, Notre Dame has much better stats. Quarterback, Jack Coan, (ironically a transfer from Wisconsin) has completed 62 out of 99 passes for 828 yards and 8 touchdowns. He has played well in his first three games for the Irish. Tight End, Michael Mayer, has been a favorite target and has caught 17 passes for 206 yards and 3 touchdowns. Wide receivers, Avery Davis and Kevin Austin, have a combined 16 catches for 203 yards and 2 touchdowns. Running back Kyren Williams has rushed for 211 yards and has caught 11 passes for an additional 155 yards and his a dual threat. This offense has been good. On the other hand, defensively they have given up 1143 yards in three games. They are concerned about their rush defense as they are giving up over 150 yards per game.

It is obvious the strengths of both teams in this game. It will be a battle between a potent Notre Dame offense against the stingy Wisconsin defense. And the other battle will be the Wisconsin offense, which has been average, against a Notre Dame defense that has been vulnerable. This should be a classic game. Wisconsin is a 6.5 point favorite.

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