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Capital One Bowl: Five Things for South Carolina Fans to Know about Wisconsin's Defense

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Mark Cunningham

Want to know more about Wisconsin's defense? Start here.

--The Wisconsin defense is looking for redemption. In their loss to Penn. St. to close out the regular season, the Badgers played uncharacteristically poorly on defense, allowing 31 points to a non-elite PSU offense. Wisconsin gave up several big plays in the game, allowing PSU quarterback Christian Hackenberg (admittedly, an emerging star in the B10) to carve up the secondary for passes of 52, 59, and 68 yards. PSU also had a rush rush of 61 yards. The Badgers will use the disappointing performance as motivation to play with more discipline against South Carolina. SB Nation Wisconsin blog Bucky's 5th Quarter had this to say about the game:

Hindsight, it seems, can often be the best form of motivation, and many Wisconsin players would likely join Aranda in owning up to the disappointment of the outlier performance from two weeks ago.

The Capital One Bowl against South Carolina on New Year's Day has since become an opportunity for the Badgers' defense to end the season on a high note, rather than spend the entire offseason with fresh memories from the Penn State game.

That may not be great news for South Carolina, because Wisconsin is capable of playing better than it did against Penn. St.
--The Badgers rank 17th in the nation in points against. While the B10 isn't known for teams that put tons of points on the board, don't forget that the Badgers traveled to Arizona St. and Ohio St., and while the Badgers lost both games (albeit in controversial fashion to ASU), they held those high-powered offenses below their season averages.
--Linebacker Chris Borland is the star of the Wisconsin defense. Borland is first-team All-B10 according to both the coaches and the media and second-team AP All-American. He's projected to be among the first inside linebackers taken in the NFL Draft. A long-time contributor, Borland is second among active FBS players with 410 tackles in his career, as well as 10th with 50 tackles-for-loss.
--After years of being known for a conventional 4-3 defense that was built to stop the run, new coach Gary Andersen, who came to Wisconsin from Utah State after Bret Bielema took the Arkansas job, installed his two-gap 3-4 scheme, albeit frequently with an OLB/DE hybrid that allows Andersen to take advantage of the roster Bielema left for him.
--Former Gamecocks backup QB Tanner McEvoy will be lining up at safety for the Badgers. He's had a productive year there for UW. Long-term, though, he hopes to become the Badgers' starting QB.