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Maryland is significant underdog heading into game at Wisconsin

Kenzel Doe and Wisconsin are tough to beat at home.
Kenzel Doe and Wisconsin are tough to beat at home.(Mike McGinnis, Getty Images)

The oddsmakers apparently do not see Maryland stacking up well heading into Saturday's game at Wisconsin.

The Terps are 11.5-point underdogs according to the three lines at ESPN.com.

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The Badgers (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten) are ranked first nationally in rushing offense (343 yards per game), are second in the Big Ten in total defense, and they have what is widely known as one of the best home-field advantages in the country.

Wisconsin lost to a now 3-4 Northwestern team Oct. 4, but the Badgers' only other loss came at the hands of then 13th-ranked LSU. That was a game Wisconsin led 24-7 during the third quarter before the Tigers scored 21 straight points to win, 28-24.

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The main issue the Badgers have is at quarterback.

Wisconsin quarterbacks are completing just 54 percent of their passes and have only seven touchdown passes to go along with eight interceptions.

Joel Stave, who has seen the majority of the action the last two games, was just 15 of 33 for 187 yards with three interceptions and just one touchdown in those two games.

The Badgers have also had trouble stopping the run at different points.

LSU's Kenny Hilliard ran for 110 yards while averaging 6.1 yards per carry against Wisconsin.

Bowling Green broke off a 35-yard touchdown run during the first quarter against the Badgers. Northwestern running back Justin Jackson had 162 yards on 33 carries, and Illinois quarterback Aaron Bailey ran for 75 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries last week.

That said, Maryland will have to find a way to slow down Melvin Gordon and Wisconsin's running game.

Arguably the best running back in the country, Gordon has rushed for 140 yards or more in five of the Badgers' first six games, is averaging 7.9 yards per carry and has 13 rushing touchdowns.

As a team, Wisconsin is averaging an FBS-best 7.4 yards per carry.

The Badgers are also eighth nationally in passing defense, allowing just 169 passing yards per game.

Opposing quarterbacks are completing only 50 percent of their pass attempts against Wisconsin.

While the Badgers have been unranked since losing to Northwestern, they began the season ranked 14th and were ranked 17th as recently as the week leading up to the loss to Northwestern.

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