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Troy Trojans vs. Wisconsin Badgers Preview and Prediction

Tanner McEvoy

Tanner McEvoy

The nice thing about being a perennial Big Ten powerhouse program is that your early season schedule is normally filled with essential cupcakes in order to prep your team for the daunting in-conference schedule that lies head. 

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After a 58-0 home drubbing of Miami (Ohio), Wisconsin hosts Troy on Saturday in hopes of continuing its dominance before heading into Big Ten play for what's expected to be another exciting season, as the Badgers look to return to the conference championship game. 

The Badgers should use this game wisely to fine tune specific areas of their game, specifically ensuring the health of running back Corey Clement. The junior who entered the season a Heisman Trophy contender has gotten off to a slow start because of a nagging groin injury, but he appears to be getting closer to returning to 100 percent. The offensive line also has much room for improvement after totaling just 45 yards on the ground in the season-opening loss to Alabama.

Troy Trojans at Wisconsin Badgers

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: Big Ten Network (Saturday) 

Spread: Wisconsin -35.5

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Three Things to Watch For

1. Tanner McEvoy

The former Badgers quarterback has become a two-way star under new head coach Paul Chryst, who this week announced Tanner as "two-way Tanner" after the former quarterback-turned-wide receiver totaled 29 yards receiving and nearly took an interception to the house against Miami (Ohio). McEvoy is an extremely athletic player with a high football IQ, both attributes are exactly what the Badgers are looking for on both sides of the ball. 

2. Badgers' offensive line

If Wisconsin has any dreams of finding themselves back in the Big Ten Championship Game, they're going to need to find chemistry along their offensive line. A valid rushing attack wins games in the Big Ten, especially late in the year, and without a healthy Corey Clement and a shoddy offensive line, Wisconsin could be in for a long year. 

3. Joel Stave

Stave has overperformed early this season after much criticism during spring camp. Stave has been both accurate and poised this season, even without much of a rushing attack to supplement his workload in the passing game. Look for Stave to get plenty of time in the pocket against Troy, and look for him to work on his intermediate passing game early. 

Final Analysis

This game isn't going to be close. Not in the beginning, not ever. Wisconsin is far and away the better team, and this one should be over before the first quarter is finished. 

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Prediction: Wisconsin 70, Troy 7

— Written by Chris Dougherty, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Dougherty also serves as a National Recruiting Analyst for 247Sports.com and has written for other sites, including FanSided.com and Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @warontheweekend.