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Saturday, October 4, 2008
It's game night at Camp Randall Stadium


Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

MADISON, Wis. -- After weaving my way through the debauchery on Regent Street, I have arrived safely at band-less Camp Randall Stadium, where No. 18 Wisconsin hosts No. 14 Ohio State later tonight (ABC, 8 p.m. ET).

As usual, there's a great atmosphere around the stadium tonight. There's definitely a strong police presence here, in preparation for what surely will be an all-night party in Mad-town. I'm all for good times, but I hope everyone follows this fabulously headlined editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal.

Ohio State enters the game at 4-1, having won consecutive games since its collapse at USC. The Buckeyes haven't played here since 2003, when they fell 17-10 and saw their 19-game win streak snapped. All eyes will be on freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor, as he makes his first career road start in a raucous setting. Pryor and running back Chris "Beanie" Wells have given a stale offense a fresh look, combining the traditional power run game with elements of the spread.

Wisconsin was supposed to come in at 4-0, but the Badgers blew a 19-point halftime lead last week at Michigan and fell, 27-25. The loss takes a little luster off what had been billed as the Big Ten's premier matchup, but Wisconsin can make a statement with a win. The Badgers have won 16 consecutive home games and six straight contests at night. Junior running back P.J. Hill (112.3 rush yards per game) leads the offense, and Wisconsin also will be looking for big things from All-American H-back/tight end Travis Beckum, who should be close to full strength for the game. The Badgers defense ranks 30th nationally in scoring (17 ppg) and is led by linebackers DeAndre Levy and Jonathan Casillas.

Both teams will try to run the ball, but it could come down to the better passing game. Pryor needs to attack a vulnerable Badgers secondary and find wideouts Brian Robiskie, Brian Hartline and possibly DeVier Posey. Beckum could be a huge factor in the red zone for Wisconsin, which has been plagued by dropped passes from its wide receivers for some time.

I'll have more updates later, so check back throughout the night.