Montee Ball returns for his senior year with his sights on more than a return to the Rose Bowl for the third straight year. Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Know the Opponent: Wisconsin Badgers

Our last Big Ten team is number four on our list with the Wisconsin Badgers, whose season ended in defeat to the Oregon Ducks in the 2012 Rose Bowl. The Badgers will travel to Corvallis on September 8 for a 1:00 p.m. (PT) kickoff at Reser Stadium against the Oregon State Beavers.

Brett Bielema begins his seventh season in Madison and he’ll again be given the reigns of an ACC transfer – this time it’s former Maryland junior Danny O’Brien. Last season with the Terps, O’Brien passed for 1,648 yards with seven touchdown passes and rushed for two more.

The former Terapins quarterback will have two years of eligibility after graduating the University of Maryland in a span of three years.

Senior Montee Ball decided to come back for another year and try to chase a national title. Ball was a Heisman finalist after rushing for 1,923 with 33 touchdowns. Junior James White is there to back-up just in case and put up 713 yards with six TD’s of his own.

Junior wide receiver Jared Abbrederis who was the team’s leading receiver last season catching 55 passes for 933 yards with eight scores. Fellow junior Jacob Pedersen, who is the starting tight end, had 356 yards with eight touchdowns of his own will be a threat.

Wisconsin returns their top tacklers from a defense that allowed just 19 points per game in 2011 and three of the top five. Senior linebacker Mike Taylor who had 150 tackles, seven for losses, two sacks and interceptions returns. Junior linebacker Chris Borland second last year with 143 tackles, had the team lead with 16.5 tackle for loss, 2.5 sacks, five pass breakups and a pair of interceptions.

The Badgers sit in a good position with Penn State and Ohio State on probation this season in the Leaders division of the Big Ten. They’ve got a manageable non-conference schedule with the road trip to Oregon State the highlight, in-conference they go to Nebraska, host Michigan State and Ohio State. This will be a team you hear about all season long nationally and if things break right will be in the championship picture.

2012 Wisconsin Badgers Schedule –

Northern Iowa 9/1
@Oregon State 9/8
Utah State 9/15
UTEP 9/22
@Nebraska 9/29
Illinois 10/6
@Purdue 10/13
Minnesota 10/20
Michigan State 10/27
@Indiana 11/10
Ohio State 11/17
@Penn State 11/24

Check out the entire archive of “Know the Opponents,” a series of all Pac-12 non-conference opponent previews, here.

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Tags: Big Ten Bret Bielema Football Montee Ball Oregon State Beavers Pac-12 Wisconsin Badgers

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