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Friday, December 31, 2010
Rose Bowl keys for Wisconsin

By Adam Rittenberg

Here are three keys for Wisconsin heading into its matchup against TCU in the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO.

1. Change speeds on offense: John Clay is finally healthy, and Wisconsin should take advantage of its most experienced running back despite the success of Montee Ball and James White down the stretch in Big Ten play. Much like a pitcher with three great pitches, Wisconsin's ability to change speeds with its backs can make life extremely difficult for opposing defenses. The Badgers need Clay to pound away at TCU's undersized defenders and then switch things up with a speed back like White, who can take it the distance.

2. Maintain defensive playmaking: Wisconsin isn't a lock-down defense, and from a statistical standpoint, the Badgers' D lags behind the other three units (TCU offense, TCU defense, Wisconsin offense). But what Dave Doeren's unit does is make big plays. No Big Ten defender made more than Badgers end J.J. Watt, who recorded every defensive statistic except safety this season. Wisconsin also needs strong performances from All-Big Ten cornerback Antonio Fenelus, hard-hitting safety Jay Valai and others.

3. Control clock by avoiding obvious passing situations: The Badgers have dominated possession time this season and must control the clock with their run game against TCU. They don't allow many sacks, but they also have avoided obvious passing situations in third-and-long. Scott Tolzien isn't the most mobile quarterback and TCU defenders could rattle him if Wisconsin can't set up manageable third downs. Tolzien can be very effective with the play-action pass game if the Frogs are overly concerned about the run.