South Dakota-Wisconsin Preview
MADISON, Wis. (AP)
No. 6 Wisconsin is embracing its blue-collar approach.
Coach Bret Bielema compared his Badgers to hourly workers on Monday, saying they get the biggest gains when they work overtime.
Wisconsin (3-0) has had an easy run of early opponents and finishes up the nonconference slate by hosting South Dakota on Saturday. It is expected to be a final tuneup before hosting No. 9 Nebraska on Oct. 1.
''If our preparation this week changes from what it was last week against Northern Illinois or the week before against Oregon State or go ahead a week against Nebraska, then we're setting ourselves up for failure,'' Bielema said. ''We really strive and believe, I think and our kids believe it, the one thing we've been able to establish is we know how to win football games here.''
The team had Monday off, but many players usually come in for film study or workouts.
''I always tell the kids overtime is the time when you really gain the benefit,'' Bielema said. ''Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we've got to work the way we need to work and Saturday we need to execute, it doesn't matter who we're playing - again, if it's South Dakota, Nebraska, Oregon State, Northern Illinois, it's the same for our guys.''
It will be hard to ignore the Cornhuskers.
The Big Ten announced Monday that the Oct. 1 matchup, already a night game, will be televised on ABC. In the secondary market, the cheapest pair of tickets were running $592 as of Monday, nearly $500 more than face value.
But first come the Coyotes (2-1), who have won two straight. South Dakota has already beaten last year's FCS champion, Eastern Washington, in early season play and knocked off Minnesota 41-38 in Minneapolis last season.
The Badgers, however, have won 31 consecutive nonconference regular-season games, and Bielema has never lost in nonconference play.
''This is a team that's maybe going to make a run at a national title, and I'm not playing them up because we're playing them,'' South Dakota coach Ed Meierkort said. ''I'm sure they're preoccupied with next week's game more than our game.''
Wisconsin looks better than ever with Russell Wilson, who accounted for 384 yards of total offense against Northern Illinois and now has more than 9,000 yards passing and 100 touchdowns in his college career after spending his first three seasons at North Carolina State.
''The sky is the limit in terms of our ability to keep getting better. If we do that, we have a lot of potential. But potential is not anything until we keep doing it every single day. That consistency is what's very important for us,'' Wilson said after the victory over the Huskies.
''We have a lot of guys that can make a lot of great plays,'' he said. ''My job is to get the ball to the right guy at the right time.''
Wisconsin's biggest health concern is right tackle Josh Oglesby, who sprained his left knee on Saturday. Oglesby was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday but the coaching staff remains optimistic that it's not serious.
''All the preliminary indications have been very, very positive,'' Bielema said. ''Josh was really upbeat after the game. From what the doctors could tell by their manual tests, everything seemed to be intact. Very good chance he will play this week, if not, for sure next week as long as the MRI comes back all clean.''