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WISCONSIN BADGERS (3-1) at OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (4-0)
No. 23 Wisconsin bounced back nicely last week from its heartbreaking loss to Arizona State, and will look to keep rolling with a huge road victory over No. 4 Ohio State, winners of 16 straight games, on Saturday night.
Year in and year out, the Wisconsin Badgers have proven to be one of the premiere teams in the country when it comes running the ball. That has not changed under new head coach Gary Andersen. Entering week 5, Wisconsin leads the country with 1,399 rushing yards, which is 150 more than Ohio State, the nation's second-most prolific ground game with 1,244 yards. Even more impressive, the Badgers are averaging an incredible 8.0 yards per carry. It has been a two-man crew as Melvin Gordon (624 yards, 11.8 YPC, 7 TD) and James White (442 yards, 3 TD) do an outstanding job of following their offensive line and getting to the second level. However, QB Joel Stave has done a very good job of making defenses have to respect the Badgers' passing game as well. While the Badgers are 7.5-point underdogs going into this game, that suits Andersen just fine considering he's 15-2 ATS as a road underdog as a college coach. When Ohio State star QB Braxton Miller went down with his injury, there were questions on what direction the Buckeyes would go with their offense. Two games and 10 touchdown passes later, backup QB Kenny Guiton hasn't missed a beat. Both quarterbacks are expected to guide one of the nations highest scoring offenses (52.5 PPG, 4th in FBS). Buckeyes RB Carlos Hyde was suspended for the first three games because of off-field issues, but RB Jordan Hall leads the nation with eight touchdowns. He is not the biggest running back at 5-foot- 10, 200 pounds, but he is extremely shifty. A very interesting thing to look for in this matchup is the way Urban Meyer game plans for the Badgers. Andersen was an assistant for Meyer at Utah.
Wisconsin is 18 seconds away from being undefeated heading into this game after its controversial loss to Arizona State two weeks ago. The Badgers currently rank 25th in the country in scoring (41.0 PPG) and will look to use their offense to control the time of possession on Saturday. Last season, Wisconsin was able to rush for 206 yards, but more importantly, had the ball for over 37 minutes in a 21-14 overtime loss to Ohio State. However, the Badgers are more than capable of stopping the Buckeyes, currently ranking 10th in points allowed at 10.5 per game. Freshman Sojourn Shelton has shown the potential to become of the best defensive backs in the country, grabbing two interceptions in the first four games of his career. He has also done a very good job in helping with the run, something that is extremely rare to see in a young cornerback. Look for him to get matched up with top WR Devin Smith, who has produced many big plays for the Buckeyes in his career.
The Buckeyes have reached 40 points in all four of their wins, which includes a hefty 76-point performance against Florida A&M last weekend. With Miller back in the lineup, look for Ohio State to look to get back to really using the rushing attack, while not throwing the ball nearly as much. The Buckeyes defense has some major flaws to look out for though, especially in the secondary. Even though they defeated their lone BCS opponent (California) two weeks ago, they gave up 503 total yards, including 371 through the air. The defensive line has to win the battle and not let Gordon and White get to the second level, or the Buckeyes could see their 16-game win streak and national title dreams go down the drain.
Golson Suspended - "Poor Academic Judgement"
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - NFL Betting Lines Everett Golson is out for at least the fall semester at Notre Dame, saying he has been suspended by the university for what he called poor academic judgment.
``I take full responsibility for my poor choices and will do all that is asked of me to regain the trust of my family, friends, teammates, coaches and the entire Notre Dame community,'' he wrote in a letter released Sunday by the university.
Golson was officially no longer enrolled at Notre Dame as of Friday, university spokesman Dennis Brown said Saturday night.
Golson helped the Irish go 12-0 during the regular season last year, regain the No. 1 ranking for the first time in nearly two decades and get to the national title game against Alabama in January. Coach Brian Kelly was counting on him to play an even bigger role in 2013 after his play steadily improved throughout last season.
Golson did not specify what he did to get suspended, and wrote that he understands his integrity could be in question.
``But I want to reassure my supporters that through this experience I will return a better student athlete as well as a better individual,'' he said.
He said he chose to attend Notre Dame because of its mission to develop him both on and off the field.
``My parents and the community I grew up in have instilled values in me that have and will continue to allow me to be successful in the future. There have been many lessons learned as I worked to become the starting quarterback at Notre Dame and each was a result of Coach Kelly's belief in me as an athlete and a person,'' he wrote.
He also thanked the university for the opportunity it already has given him and the opportunity to retain his eligibility in January.
``At this point, I understand how my integrity could be in question but I want to reassure my supporters that through this experience I will return a better student athlete as well as a better individual,'' Golson said. ``Lastly, I want to thank the University of Notre Dame for the opportunity already granted and also the opportunity going forth to regain my eligibility in the winter of 2014.''
Golson did not respond to telephone or text messages left by The Associated Press.
Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick declined to elaborate on Golson's situation earlier in the day. Brown said the university would have nothing to add to Golson's statement.
Golson's abrupt exit leaves the Irish unsettled at a position they were hoping would be a strength in 2013. The most likely replacement is Tommy Rees, the 2011 starter who played key roles in four victories last season when Golson either struggled or was injured.
Golson completed 58.8 percent of his passes last year for 2,405 yards with 12 touchdown passes and six interceptions. He also ran for 298 yards and team-high six touchdowns.
Notre Dame also has Andrew Hendrix, a senior with no starts, and freshman Malik Zaire at quarterback.
So now quarterback is question mark for the Irish and Golson's future with Notre Dame is uncertain.
One thing is clear: The good feelings in South Bend produced by the best Notre Dame football season in more than two decades have been muted by everything that has come after 12-0.
It started with an embarrassing 42-14 loss against Alabama in the BCS title game, when the Crimson Tide scored on their first three possessions and jumped to a 35-0 lead.
That was quickly followed by news Kelly had interviewed for the vacant Philadelphia Eagles job the day after the BCS game.
Then the bizarre.
Part Manti Te'o's inspirational story turned out to be the result of an elaborate hoax. The dead girlfriend that supposedly inspired throughout his Heisman Trophy run did not exist. He had been duped and embarrassed.
Since then, it's been a series of smaller setbacks.
In March, Kelly announced Gunner Kiel, one of the top-rated quarterbacks coming out of high school a year ago, was leaving before even trying to challenge Golson for the starter's job during spring practice. Kiel transferred to Cincinnati.
NCAA rules would permit Kiel to return, but texted ``I'm a Bearcat'' to The (Cincinnati) Enquirer.
Then came reports that standout defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes from Auburn, Calif., a five-star recruit who signed a letter of intent in February with Notre Dame, was having second thoughts about playing for the Irish.
Though none of those problems will affect the Irish this season like not having Golson.
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