Saturday, September 18, 1999

Big, bad Badgers in town


Wisconsin is bruising team

BY MIKE DeCOURCY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        What makes Wisconsin so imposing as a guest at Nippert Stadium is not that the Badgers are ranked No.8 in the nation. Losing to such a team would be a lot less painful for the Cincinnati Bearcats than losing to a Division I-AA opponent.

        What the Bearcats face at 3:15p.m. today, though, is the game could be much more painful.

        The Badgers do not just beat you. They hurt you. Their offensive line averages 296 pounds per man. That's including the tight end. All-American running back Ron Dayne at 250 pounds is about as big as any UC defensive lineman, save for 329-pound Mario Monds.

        UC coach Rick Minter said that by the time his football players fell asleep Friday night, they believed they were ready to defeat the Badgers.

        “We're not going to sit around and be scared,” Minter said, “but one of the goals we need to achieve is to come out of the next two games with the same guys we have now and have a chance to improve. The guys cannot improve if they get hurt.” UC has lost four players — including starters Ken Biggs (guard), Paul Stephens (defensive tackle) and Blue Adams (cornerback) — to season-ending injuries since training camp began.

        The Bearcats (1-1) were young to begin with, and now they're thin. Being pancaked by one or more of the Badgers (2-0) could make them thinner.

        “There's different types of teams,” Minter said. “There are power football teams and there are finesse football teams. If we were playing Purdue, physically we might not get hurt. But they would exploit you athletically.

        “A team like Wisconsin ... (UC is) going to find out, can you anchor your feet in there? Are you big enough to keep the big bruisers from opening up the holes for Ron Dayne. They want to do it by blood and guts.”

THE SKINNY
        • When: 3:15p.m. at Nippert Stadium (35,000), Cincinnati.

        • Records: UC 1-1,

        Wisconsin 2-0.

        • TV: Fox Sports Net Ohio

        • Radio: WCKY-AM 1360

        • Series: Wisconsin leads 2-0. (Last meeting, 1936: Wisconsin won 27-6.)

        • Line: Wisconsin by 26.

        • What to watch: Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne needs to average 158 yards a game to break the NCAA rushing record. That's going to put serious pressure on the UC defense.

       



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