When the Badgers have the ball
The Badgers put on display last week a different attitude on offense, with hard, physical running being at the base of the attack. Junior Chez Mellusi and freshman Braelon Allen again may be the 1-2 punch with junior Brady Schipper filling in the gaps after redshirt freshman Jalen Berger was dismissed from the team and junior Isaac Guerendo questionable this week. If Guerendo can play, UW would be wise to get him in the flow of the game so he’s ready to contribute in the second half of the season.
Graham Mertz threw for 100 yards and had an interception last week, but he came out of the trip to Champaign healthy. He had a number of passes that showed what he could be as a quarterback, and the Badgers need to get him into that rhythm for a full game.
Watch for UW’s offensive line to build off a good showing against the Illini, particularly early in the game when that unit got push up front with iso schemes and straight forward blocks before getting into the zone and pull blocks that created lanes later in the game.
With No. 2 tight end Jack Eschenbach ruled out, sophomore Clay Cundiff should be in line for more playing time. He’s done well in limited opportunities thus far, catching a touchdown against Michigan and a 43-yard pass against Notre Dame.
When Army has the ball
The cloud hanging over the Army offense and this game overall is the availability of quarterback Christian Anderson. He is the best weapon Army has on offense, with his speed and agility a necessity as the decision-maker in its triple-option attack. The Black Knights have a chance to move the ball with Anderson — they average 415 yards with him and had 279 last week without him.
Tyrell Robinson, a sophomore running back, has 237 yards on 25 carries this season, and he’s often lined up as one of the flex players for Army, just off the line of scrimmage next to the tackle or tight end. Junior Jakobi Buchanan (187 yards), who is 6 foot and 260 pounds, serves as a battering ram into the middle of the defense from his fullback spot, lined up behind the quarterback.
Robinson also leads the team in receiving, though that’s not saying much for a team that is attempting just more than six passes per game.
Getting penetration will be crucial for the Badgers’ defensive line so it can create negative plays, but that penetration has to be controlled — come up field too far and the Black Knights can use it against a defense. Look for the defensive line’s depth to be used frequently — players like nose tackle Bryson Williams and end James Thompson could see their roles expand this week.
Senior Collin Larsh may step into kickoff specialist duties again this week with sophomore Jack Van Dyke questionable. Larsh had a touchback and four of his kickoffs were fair caught. Larsh is 7 of 9 this season after making a field goal to open the game against Illinois. His two misses were a block against Penn State and a 52-yard try against Notre Dame.
This week could be an opportunity for the Badgers to get some momentum from their kick return unit. Army allowed a kick return touchdown against Connecticut and a 99-yard kick return touchdown against Ball State last week.
UW would be back to .500 for the first time since Week 2 with a win. UW hasn’t been at or below .500 entering its seventh game of the season since 2008.
Chez Mellusi and Braelon Allen last week became the Badgers’ first duo to rush for more than 100 yards in the same game since 2018 when Jonathan Taylor and Taiwan Deal also did so against Illinois.
Camp Randall’s crowd — averaging 74,218 this season — all but assuredly will be the biggest the Black Knights have played in front of this season.