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Northwestern-Wisconsin predictions

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Our staffers are split on this one.

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Caleb Friedman: Northwestern 17, Wisconsin 27

I think Northwestern competes, and I think the game is close early in the second half. I just see Wisconsin’s offensive line as too dominant for Northwestern’s defense. Like last season, the Wildcats will hold firm defensively, but the Badgers will control the ball and dictate the game. Jonathan Taylor has a solid day and Clayton Thorson can’t quite get the offense in the rhythm it needs. Badgers cover.

Matthew Albert: Northwestern 27, Wisconsin 24

Northwestern addresses the issues that came out of Piscataway, Thorson proves why he is a future NFL quarterback, and the Wildcats win in overtime. Jonathan Taylor has a great game but Hornibrook (if he even plays at this point) is mediocre. Northwestern torches the damaged Wisconsin secondary. The game is an ugly one, but the Cardiac ‘Cats pull it off keeping our Big Ten West hopes alive.

Avery Zimmerman: Northwestern 24, Wisconsin 21

Northwestern consistently plays up and down to its competition. Games like Michigan and @MSU highlight how this team has stepped up to the plate this season, and this game will be no different. Wisconsin is ravaged by injuries on the defensive side of the ball, and Hornibrook is questionable. Northwestern squeaks out a slugfest on a game winning field goal by Luckenbaugh, as NU legitimizes their chances of earning a B1G West crown.

Davis Rich: Wisconsin 31, Northwestern 21

Jonathan Taylor and the Wisconsin offense plod along as the NU defense can’t create the havoc plays necessary to get the Badgers off the field. Wisconsin controls the time of possession and takes advantage of a key NU turnover to jump out to a big lead. A late Thorson touchdown pass makes the game appear closer than it was.

Lukas Stachtiaris: Wisconsin 27, Northwestern 21

Northwestern has played to its competition for the most part over the past two years and I think they’ll do it again on Saturday. I see the Wildcats getting off to an early lead, but struggling to make halftime adjustments just like last season in Madison. The Badgers’ offense finds its stride in the second half and NU’s offense spends very little of the second half on the field. Ultimately, I think that this one plays out similar to the Week 5 Michigan game, but a little more painful with the Big Ten West implications that it carries.

Martin Oppegaard: Northwestern 21, Wisconsin 13

I can’t think of a bigger neutralizer in college football than Ryan Field at 11 a.m. on a cold, rainy Saturday. Pat Fitzgerald finally gets the big one.

Noah Coffman: Northwestern 28, Wisconsin 27

I’ve spent all week slowly talking myself into this one, which means this team is sure to break whatever is left of my heart once again. Oh well. Anyways, Northwestern will be able to prey on a below-average run defense with quick-hitters and another solid performance from Bowser, while the defense does just enough to neutralize Jonathan Taylor. Clayton Thorson has a bounce-back performance. Shenanigans down the stretch will give Northwestern another close win over the Badgers.

Eli Karp: Wisconsin 26, Northwestern 21

The head is picking against the heart here, and I came close enough to picking the ‘Cats that I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they pulled it out. If Northwestern’s rushing attack once again struggles against another mediocre run defense, it’ll be up to Big Play Clay to find his groove and Flynn Nagel. I see Wisconsin’s ground game being just too much, but if Alex Hornibrook continues his turnover-prone ways, or if he can’t play because of his concussion and it’s backup Jack Coan who starts, this one could swing the way of the Fighting Fitzes.

Spencer Levitt: Northwestern 31, Wisconsin 28

Northwestern has played to the opposing team’s skill level for several weeks now — for better or worse. Clayton Thorson stays hot with another good showing from Flynn Nagel to come away with a big win.