Cougs prepare to head ‘on Wisconsin’

Dickert returns to home state, vs. No. 18 Badgers



WSU running back Nakia Watson (25) runs down field during an NCAA football match against Idaho, Sep. 3, at Martin Stadium.

TREVOR JUNT, Evergreen deputy sports editor

WSU will play Wisconsin for the first time in 15 years on Saturday.

The last time the Cougs played the Badgers was Sept. 1, 2007. In that game the Badgers won 42-21, Michael Bumpus, Seattle Sports Radio host was second on the team in receiving and Jed Collins, former-WSU professor of personal finance, was third.  

This is a homecoming game for WSU head coach Jake Dickert, who grew up in Oconto, Wisconsin. He was a wide receiver at Wisconsin-Stevens Point and started as a graduate assistant coach there as well. When discussing going back to Wisconsin, Dickert mentioned the mentors and family members he looks forward to seeing at the game.

“I think it’s the biggest game of the year because it’s the only game we’re playing this week,” Dickert said. “It’s special for me really for one reason because there is gonna be a lot of people there that helped me get to this point.”

Among those in attendance on Saturday will be his former head coach and his 86-year-old grandma bringing her homemade strawberry jelly. He gave those important people credit for creating who he is as a person and leader. 

Wisconsin is ranked No. 19 in the nation, according to the AP Poll. Their defense looks solid, and their rushing attack looks like it is what the Cougs should be scared of.

Wisconsin played Illinois State last week and was able to shut them out 38-0.

They almost doubled them in total yards as their defense choked the life out of the Illinois State offense. They also forced two interceptions and sacked the quarterback four times.

Potential Heisman candidate Braelon Allen had 14 carries for 148 yards and two touchdowns against Illinois State, with one 96-yard rushing touchdown. Quarterback Graham Mertz was efficient going 14/16 for 219 yards and one touchdown.

WSU had a rough offensive performance in their last game against Idaho, in which they won 24-17.

Cam Ward was okay during the game, going 25/40 with 215 yards and three touchdowns.

Former Badger and transfer Nakia Watson ran the ball 18 times for 117 yards. Watson played at Wisconsin for two years. 

“It’ll be nice seeing my old coaches and old teammates.” Watson said, “I got probably about eight to ten boys still on the [Wisconsin] team that I talk to on a regular basis.”

The WSU offense totaled three fumbles and gave the ball away to Idaho too much, which kept them in the game.

The strength of WSU showed in this game was the front seven. The defense was able to sack the quarterback seven times for a loss of 37 yards. They also were able to force two interceptions. But the linebackers and defensive line showed how important they were.

This game will be strength-on-strength, the elite running game of Wisconsin versus the ferocious defensive front of WSU.

ESPN gives Wisconsin almost a 93% chance of winning this game. The line is Wisconsin by 17.5.

Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday in Madison, Wisconsin. The game will be broadcast by Fox.