#8 Wisconsin Badgers (0-0) vs University of South Florida Bulls (0-0)
Coach: Paul Chryst
Wisconsin Players to watch:
Junior RB Jonathan Taylor (5-11/219)
Taylor was named a 2018 All-American and the Doak Walker Award winner – given to the best running back in the nation. In two seasons at Wisconsin, Taylor has already run for over 4,000 yards. With junior, Jack Coan, winning the quarterback battle in the spring, expect to see a heavy dose of Taylor early in the season.
**Sophomore TE Jake Ferguson (6-5/250)
Last season, Ferguson was a pleasant surprise in an offense that struggled to consistently move the ball through the air. He caught at least one pass in all 13 games and finished as the team’s second-leading receiver with 36 receptions for 456 yards and four touchdowns.
During the offseason, Ferguson bulked up to 250. He’s counting on the added weight to improve his effectiveness as a blocker without compromising his speed as a route-runner.
*Junior OC Tyler Biadasz (6-3/322)
Last year, Biadasz was considered by many to be the best player on an offensive line that saw David Edwards go to the L.A. Rams; Michael Deiter was drafted by the Miami Dolphins; and Beau Benzschawel sign with the Detriot Lions as an UDFA. Biadasz will be looking to take home the Rimington Trophy in 2019.
***Sophomore ILB Jack Sanborn (6-2/232)
Wisconsin knows how to turn out pro-ready linebackers. Last year, Wisconson sent T.J. Edwards, Andrew Van Ginkel and Ryan Connelly to the next level. Sanborn played in 11 games last year as a true freshman. This year, he will be expected to fill the shoes of those who played before him. Wisconsin’s highest rated recruit of a year ago, Sanborn should post 80-100 tackles in 2019.
Coach: Charlie Strong
USF Players to watch:
Senior RB Jordan Cronkrite (5-11/204)
The former Florida transfer was on a roll late in the 2018 season with five consecutive 100+yard efforts. Playing behind what looks to be an improved offensive line, Cronkrite hopes to match, or better, his 6.1 yards per carry from last year. With OC Kerwin Bell’s “Play fast, score fast” offense, Cronkrite could put up double digits in the end zone too.
Senior QB Blake Barnett (6-5/217)
Barnett, originally signed with Alabama, is a transfer from Arizona State. With one year under his belt in South Florida, he should post better numbers in 2019. At USF last year, Barnett completed 61.1 percent of his passes for 2,710 yards, 12 touchdowns; and he ran for 301 yards and eight touchdowns. With a new OC in town, look for a healthy Barnett to put up ridiculous numbers.
Senior RT Marcus Norman (6-6/305)
Two-time All-AAC Marcus Norman will anchor an offensive line that is much improved from last year’s unit. Norman is a seasoned veteran in the trenches, he enters the 2019 season with 34 consecutive starts. The Sebastian product has shown his skills in the classroom as well, having been named to the AAC All-Academic Team twice. He has already graduated with a degree in Information Security and is currently working on his master’s.
*Junior CB Mike Hampton (6-1/185)
All-conference honorable mention cornerback Mike Hampton (Tampa) shined as a sophomore in his first year as a starter, ranking ninth nationally with 18 passes defended (1.4 per game). He also posted posted 16 pass breakups, which stand as the second-most in USF history; he tied for second on the team with two interceptions; totaled 43 tackles (35 solo), 2.0 tackles for loss, and one sack.
Raymond James Stadium – Grass
August 30 | Tampa, Florida