Georgia Southern will try to beat a Big Ten team for the second straight season when it visits Wisconsin on Saturday. The Eagles' 45-42 victory at Nebraska last year came one day before the Cornhuskers fired coach Scott Frost. Wisconsin will be attempting to bounce back from a 31-22 loss at Washington State that knocked the Badgers out of the Top 25. Wisconsin coach Luke Fickell hasn't lost back-to-back games since his debut season at Cincinnati in 2017.
Georgia Southern (2-0) at Wisconsin (1-1), Saturday, noon ET (Big Ten Network)
Line: Wisconsin by 19 ½, according to FanDuel Sportsbook
Series record: First meeting
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Wisconsin is seeking to bounce back from a 31-22 loss at Washington State that dropped the Badgers out of the Top 25. Coach Luke Fickell is trying to avoid losing back-to-back games for the first time since 2017, his debut season at Cincinnati. Georgia Southern is attempting to beat a Big Ten team for a second straight season after winning 45-42 at Nebraska last year. In their only other matchups with current Big Ten programs, the Eagles lost at Indiana in 2017 and at Minnesota in 2019.
Wisconsin running game vs. Georgia Southern run defense. The Badgers mustered just 90 yards on 29 carries against Washington State. That came after Chez Mellusi and Braelon Allen each rushed for over 140 yards in a season-opening victory over Buffalo. LB Marques Watson-Trent is the leading tackler for a Georgia Southern defense that allows 145 yards rushing per game and 4 yards per carry.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Georgia Southern: QB Davis Brin is in his first year with the Eagles after transferring from Tulsa, where he threw for 3,254 yards in 2021 and 2,138 yards in 2022. Brin has completed 78.3% of his passes this season for 562 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. He also has one touchdown run.
Wisconsin: Allen had just seven carries – his lowest single-game total since October 2021 – for 20 yards in the loss to Washington State. Don’t be surprised if the Badgers hand him the ball often at the start of this game. Allen rushed for over 1,200 yards each of the last two seasons but has been more active in the passing game this year. His 13 catches through the first two games of the season lead the Big Ten and match his 2022 total.
FACTS & FIGURES
Georgia Southern is facing its first Power Five opponent of the year after winning 34-0 over The Citadel and 49-35 against UAB the last two weeks. … Allen is the first Wisconsin running back to catch at least five passes in consecutive games since Brian Calhoun in 2005. … Wisconsin didn't force a turnover in either of its first two games. ... Georgia Southern coach Clay Helton had the same position at Southern California from 2015-21. … Georgia Southern offensive line coach TJ Woods coached Wisconsin's offensive linemen from 2013-14. … Wisconsin QB Tanner Mordecai has thrown a touchdown pass in nine straight games and 27 of his last 28. In the SMU transfer’s first two games at Wisconsin, he became the first Badgers quarterback since Joel Stave in 2015 to complete at least 24 passes in back-to-back games.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll