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Capital One Bowl: Five Things to Know about the Wisconsin Offense

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Things Gamecocks fans should know about the Wisconsin offense.

Stephen Dunn

Want to know more about the Wisconsin offense? Start here.

--Just like they have for many years, Wisconsin loves to run the football and does it well. The Badgers rank eighth in the country in rushing offense with 3396 yards on the season. Even more impressively, they average 6.61 yards per carry. The NCAA doesn't compile national rankings for ypc, but it appears that Wisconsin ranks second in the nation in the category, behind only Ohio St., as well as ahead of elite rushing offenses like Auburn's. James White and Melvin Gordon are the two primary ball carriers; both have over 1300 yards on the season.
--The Wisconsin starting offensive line weighs an average of 319.2 pounds. Submitted without further comment.
--While in some respects this Wisconsin offense is of the same variety as what we've seen for years in Madison while Barry Alvarez and Bret Bielema were on the sidelines, Gary Andersen has installed a somewhat updated philosophy. While Wisconsin is still a run-first team that uses play-action in the passing game, Andersen runs the offense out of more formations than the traditional power I. He would like to install more spread and option principles, although personnel has somewhat dictated against doing so this year.
--In the passing game, the name to listen for is Jared Abbrederis. The Badgers wideout leads the team with 73 catches for over 100 yards. He was named first-team All B10 by both the coaches and the media. He's not the most physically imposing receiver the Gamecocks will have faced, but he runs good routes and has good ball skills. He's considered a solid late-round prospect by draft experts.
--Joel Stave will line up under center for the Badgers. Stave was not considered a sure-fire starter heading into the season. However, that's not so much because he lacks skills as because Andersen would like to have a more mobile QB so he can install some option principles. Stave doesn't offer mobility, but is a capable passer who can hit play-action passes to keep defenses honest. We're not talking about a Russell Wilson here, but Stave is good. He did show something of a tendency to turn the ball over against better competition, particularly in a three-interception performance against Penn. St. in which the Badgers uncharacteristically threw the ball 53 times. The Gamecocks may be able to force some turnovers if they can pressure Stave.