The game of the week in the Big Ten this week sees 2-0 Indiana travel to 2-0 Wisconsin in a rematch of last year’s BTU semifinal. The Badgers won that contest 31-16 en route to the conference’s first-ever championship. But not without some drama, as Indiana got up on the Badgers early.
“They’re a physical team, and we know from watching film it’s the same way this year,” said Wisconsin captain Jordi Heginbottom, who is second in the league in points scored.
“They put a lot of pressure on us the first 10 minutes last year, and then we were able to kind of break away after that. We’ve got to be ready for their size, make our tackles, and that’s our stress this week is defense.”
Ohio State raced out to a 26-0 advantage over Wisconsin last weekend, but the Badgers clawed back for 30-29 win.
“We talk a lot about adversity. It’s one of our kind of key words throughout the season. We had a long drive to Ohio State and we just weren’t switched on, we weren’t ready,” said Heginbottom.
“A lot of that comes from me as the captain. I have to make sure guys are ready to go, and I think we were taken back, but we just kind of grouped together and said, ‘We won last year, but it’s a completely different year. We need to pull it together.’”
Wisconsin is still trying to hit its stride this season, but winning in the process. If they put it all together, they might be unstoppable.
“I’m really happy with the team. We’ve got to work out those kinks,” said Heginbottom. “We had a good first half against Minnesota and then a good second half against Ohio State. So we haven’t played a full 80 minutes of rugby, and once we do I think we’ll have a really solid team again.
“Guys are fighting for spots and I’m really happy with the way everyone’s been playing, so once we figure out those little issues, we’ll definitely contend again.”