- The No. 16 Wisconsin Badgers are 14.5-point home favorites over the No. 12 Indiana Hoosiers in a Week 14 matchup slated for Saturday, December 5th, at 3:30 PM EST
- Indiana had a Pyrrhic Victory in Week 13, beating Maryland 27-11 but losing QB Michael Penix Jr. for the season while Wisconsin’s game against Minnesota was canceled
- Find the odds, a breakdown of the matchup, and a pick for the game in the article below
The 16th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers host the No. 12 Indiana Hoosiers Saturday, Dec. 5 at 3:30 PM EST.
The Badgers are 14.5-point home favorites at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison for this matchup of top-20 Big Ten teams in the College Football Playoff rankings.
The Hoosiers’ breakout season was dealt a major blow in their 27-11 Week 13 win over Maryland as Tom Allen’s team lost starting quarterback Michael Penix Jr. for the season with a torn ACL. He suffered the injury during the third quarter against the Terrapins. Utah transfer Jack Tuttle, once a highly sought-after recruit for the Utes, will take over at Indiana
Meanwhile, the Badgers had their scheduled game against the Golden Gophers canceled due to coronavirus issues. The third cancellation makes Paul Chryst’s team ineligible for the league title game.
#12 Indiana vs #16 Wisconsin Week 14 Odds
|Team||Moneyline||Point Spread||Over/Under Total|
|Indiana Hoosiers||+520||+14.5 (-118)||Over 45.5 (-115)|
|Wisconsin Badgers||-800||-14.5 (-104)||Under 45.5 (-105)|
Odds taken Dec. 2 at FanDuel
The big question heading into kickoff is how will Tuttle handle his first start. The redshirt sophomore performed well in a challenging situation Saturday in the wake of Penix’s injury, completing all five of his passes for 31 yards. He also added a two-point conversion to Peyton Hendershot.
Tuttle was nationally ranked the No. 4 pro-style quarterback by Rivals and the No. 5 pro-style quarterback by 247 Sports coming out of high school in the San Diego area three years ago.
Tuttle led his high school, Mission HIlls, to a 12-1 record his senior season, finishing the year with 3,171 yards and 41 touchdowns against just four interceptions.
So, while Tuttle has the pedigree to be successful at IU (his dad was a walk-on kicker for the program in the ’80s), the emotional blow of losing Penix may be challenging to rebound from.
He will be back stronger next year. God has my son and I know that God can do all things. Our family loves Indiana University and thank you all for the encouraging words for our son. Myself and Takisha thank you. LEO
— Michael T Penix Sr (@PenixSr) December 1, 2020
Penix had been the catalyst for a 5-1 team that was ranked in the top-10 for the first time since 1969 before losing a hard-fought 42-35 showdown with Ohio State in the Horseshoe Nov. 21.
The junior accounted for 16 touchdowns in 2020 (14 pass, 2 rush) and had thrown only four picks. Allen has high expectations for this program. If the Hoosiers don’t completely collapse in the wake of losing Penix, it will be his biggest accomplishment since taking over as head coach in Bloomington in 2016.
“It attacks the core of who you are,” Allen said earlier this week, “and how you’re going to respond surely to things that happen that don’t seem fair, and when there’s no really good answer for why. That’s the case here.”
Wisconsin started the season on fire, beating Illinois 45-7 on Oct. 23 behind a record-setting performance by redshirt freshman quarterback Graham Mertz. Mertz was dazzling against the Fighting Illini, completing 20 of his 21 pass attempts and finishing with 248 yards and five touchdowns. Then, COVID hit the program hard.
Three of the program’s next five scheduled games were canceled due to virus complications. The Badgers split the other two games: a 49-11 win over Michigan and a 17-7 loss to Northwestern, Now, Indiana.
Mood headed into a new week ? pic.twitter.com/uaeZG2MI2A
— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) November 29, 2020
Wisconsin’s energy level will be interesting to watch since they’re essentially playing out the string.
Running Game is Key
With a pair of inexperienced quarterbacks operating both offenses Saturday, look for each team to try and run the ball. Whichever squad is more successful will likely end up being the victor.
Indiana junior running back Stevie Scott III produced all three of Indiana’s rushing touchdowns against the Terps.
For Wisconsin, tt’s been a full committee. Jalen Berger, Nakia Watson, Garrett Groshek and Isaac Guerendo all have at least 10 carries this season. The RBBC approach has mostly worked in three games, with UW averaging 219 yards per contest and has talliying six touchdowns.
But IU has a fairly stout rush defense. The Hoosiers are allowing only 135 yards per game on the ground and only one rushing score per game this season. How the front seven handles the Badgers will be key.
Even with last week off, I expect Wisconsin to be fairly uneven. And, yes, the loss of Penix is great. But Indiana still has plenty to play for. Don’t be surprised if this game goes under the total. But getting two touchdowns for a highly-motivated squad is too tempting to pass up.
The pick: Indiana +14.5 (-118)