Both the Oregon Ducks (11-2, 9-1 Pac-12) and Wisconsin Badgers (10-3, 8-2 Big Ten) prioritize their rushing attack and playing more physical than the opponent. The Wisconsin Badgers especially desire to dominate time of possession since they run on over 70 percent of their offensive plays to keep churning clock. You can’t play that way without stellar play from your offensive line. However, the Ducks’ offensive line was named a finalist for the Joe Moore Award.
To put it simply, the winner in the trenches will win the 2020 Rose Bowl.
A quick glance at the numbers.
RUSHING YARDS PER GAME:
Oregon: 185.8 yards per game
Wisconsin: 201.1 yards per game
RUNNING PLAYS PER GAME:
Oregon: 36.6 attempts per game
Wisconsin: 43.8 yards per game
RUSHING YARDS ALLOWED:
Oregon: 106.8 yards per game
Wisconsin: 104.0 yards per game
SACKS ALLOWED PER GAME:
Oregon: 1.76 per game
Wisconsin: 1.84 per game
SACKS PER GAME:
Oregon: 3.15 per game
Wisconsin: 3.76 per game
TACKLES-FOR-LOSS PER GAME:
Oregon: 7.23 per game
Wisconsin: 6.69 per game
OREGON (11-2 9-1 Pac-12)
Under Mario Cristobal, the Ducks have embraced being the most physical team every time they step on the field. As a former offensive line coach, he still insists on coaching the line to give the correct fundamentals. The result? An offensive line that was not only a finalist for the Joe Moore Award given to the nation’s best offensive line, but the Outland Trophy winner sophomore Penei Sewell.
Just look at how they handled a Utah defense that leads the nation in rushing defense.
The defensive line for the Ducks has plenty of talent to compete with the Badgers. Their defensive unit ranks tenth in the nation in rushing defense, giving up only 106.8 yards per game.
Players to watch:
Junior Jordon Scott will demand double teams or else he’ll terrorize the backfield. Just look at when he blew up Washington’s quarterback sneak attempt during his sophomore season on a 4th and 1.
All 11 Oregon defenders crash down on the line but Jordon Scott pushed the center back by a yard a millisecond after the snap. Might be the play of the game IMO. pic.twitter.com/UN2sWFxgpk
The freshman phenom Kayvon Thibodeaux came into the season hoping for a double digit sack season. He currently sits at nine on the season. In the Pac-12 Championship, the former No. 1 high school player in the nation had his best game of his career with a blocked punt and 2.5 sacks.
Sophomore Penei Sewell was named the best interior lineman in the nation, so of course he’ll be named a player to watch. He even got some votes for the Heisman Trophy. When the Ducks need to get a few yards, they’ll likely run to the left side of the line behind Sewell and senior guard Shane Lemieux.
WISCONSIN (10-3, 7-2 Big Ten)
Wisconsin wants to run the ball and does so on 70 percent of their offensive plays. That philosophy can only go as far as the offensive line can get them. Jonathan Taylor may be the nation’s most prolific running back, but a running back is only as good as the blocks set by his linemen. Their defensive line isn’t a slouch either as their defense ranks eighth in the country in rushing defense.
Players to watch:
Center Tyler Biadasz was a unanimous All-American in 2019 and first-team All-Big Ten in 2018 and 2019. The junior also took home the Rimington Trophy Award which is given to the nation’s best center, becoming the first Badger to do so. He’s considered the Badger’s best professional prospect and expected to go in the first or second round in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft assuming he declares.
While the Badgers rotate their defensive line a lot, sophomore Matt Henningsen has been the most productive defensive lineman on the team this season totaling 24 tackles and 4 sacks. Their line mostly tries to fill gaps for their linebackers to finish plays though.