For the second consecutive week to open up the season, 5th ranked Wisconsin (1-0) is a big favorite as the the Badgers (-34.5) host New Mexico (1-0) in the first ever meeting between the two programs.
Over the last 15 seasons since (2004-18), the Badgers have a home record of 86-10 (.896). Only Ohio State (90-10, .900) owns a better mark among power five teams during that stretch. UW has won 40 consecutive games against non-conference opponents at Camp Randall Stadium.
Sophomore defensive end Isaiahh Loudermilk and senior tight end Zander Neuville will make their 2018 season debuts for the Badgers.
Loudermilk suffered a torn meniscus in spring ball. In his place, the Badgers have played redshirt freshman Kayden Lyles and Matt Henningsen who have done a great job so far. Loudermilk will be a welcomed addition with his ability to create havoc in the opposition’s backfield.
“I feel 100 percent,” he said. “It’s still going to take some time to get back into the swing of things. But physically, I feel good to go.”
Neuville is a key part in the UW run game. However, last season, Neuville caught nine passes for 81 yards and two touchdowns.
“He’s real strong in the run game, he helps out a lot there, also in the pass game, that’s something he improved on last year, still improving on now,” said junior quarterback Alex Hornibrook.
Another test for the UW defense, New Mexico quarterback Tevaka Tuiot is coming off a 327-yard passing performance in the season opener against Incarnate Word. Needing just 13 completions to do, Tuiot averaged better than 25 yards per completion. Tuiot’s performance was the first 300-yard effort for the Lobos since 2010.
The Lobos had seven passes of 30 yards or more in their season opener. In all, the Lobos finished with 680 yards of total offense.
“A lot of speed at the skill positions,” redshirt freshman safety Scott Nelson said. “Very fast. A lot of motion, spread em’ out, a lot of verticals. I would say it’s a good test. You’ve really gotta know your stuff and what checks to call in certain situations. It will really be a good test for the new DB’s. We’re really looking forward to it.”
Hornibrook enters Saturday having thrown for 200 yards or more in three consecutive games. His last two outings of 257 yards against Western Kentucky and 258 yards against Miami (FL) in the bowl game were both career bests.
In 24 career starts, Hornibrook has hit the 200-yard mark just eight times. Over his last four outings, Hornibrook has thrown nine touchdown passes to just two interceptions, both coming to Ohio State in the 2017 Big Ten Championship Game.
New Mexico is 6-51 all-time against ranked opponents. The Lobos haven’t beaten a ranked opponent since 2003. They haven’t defeated a top 10 opponent since 1994 (1-16 against top 10).
While NMU is coming off a huge offensive output in week one, they also gave up 566 yards of total offense and 30 points. The Lobos were gashed on the ground, allowing 7.2 yards per rushing attempt, which means Jonathon Taylor could have a huge day behind the best offensive line in the country.
Wisconsin will look a bit better than they did in week one and rolls in a high possession ball game.
Wisconsin 51, New Mexico 7.