After an emotional victory at Camp Randall Saturday, the Badgers will look to maintain their focus as they take on another Big Ten opponent this week in the Indiana Hoosiers. Indiana, coming off a bye week, is 3-0 this season after strong performances against Central Michigan, Nicholls State and Kentucky.
Although the Hoosiers have benefited from a less-than-challenging schedule, they have established themselves offensively and are ranked second in the Big Ten in total yards per game.
Indiana's offense is headed by sophomore signal-caller Blake Powers, who averages the fourth most passing yards per game in the Big Ten and has tossed 11 touchdown passes this season.
With a balanced rushing attack and a big play wide-out in James Hardy, who has accumulated 266 yards receiving and three touchdowns this season, the Badger defenders should have their work cut out for them.
"I think they're balanced," Alvarez said. "They do both. They'll give you a lot of different looks. They'll give you two backs in the backfield. They'll give you two tight ends, one back in the backfield, two tight ends, two wides. You'll see a little of everything."
The Indiana rushing attack is split between two tailbacks with nearly identical numbers. Chris Taylor and Yamar Washington have combined for 459 rushing yards this season and together they lead a Hoosier ground game that is averaging 176 rush yards per game.
"We got to stop the run," linebacker Dontez Sanders said. "That's always the most important thing. If you stop the run and force them to pass it will be very hard for them to move the ball effectively. We just go out there, stop the run and [we] will be all right."
On the other side of the ball, Indiana has struggled against the run, giving up an average of 217 rush yards per game. Badger halfback Brian Calhoun, who has averaged over 150 rushing yards per outing, should see a lot of touches this week against the unproven Indiana defense. While Calhoun expects to have a big day on the ground, he knows he will have to work for every yard.
"They're coming off a bye week and have had a lot time to prepare for this game," Calhoun said. "They're going to throw a lot of different schemes at us and we just have to try to get the running game established early."
Fans should also expect to see Calhoun making catches out of the backfield, as he did last week against Michigan.
"I really enjoy it," Calhoun said about receiving. "It creates good match-ups when I go up against linebackers and it makes it easier for Stocco to get me the ball."
While the Badgers are still coming down from their emotional high after an exciting victory against perennial Big Ten powerhouse Michigan, Wisconsin will have to try to remain focused and not look past a less formidable opponent in Indiana.
"That's part of athletics and that's being mature enough to handle a big win: putting the win behind you, and then moving forward and focusing and having tremendous preparation this week on Indiana," Alvarez said. "They're 3-0 and they're a good football team."
This Wisconsin team does not have to go back very far when looking for motivation against Indiana. Although the Badgers lead the all-time series against the Hoosiers, 31-18-2, Wisconsin has lost the last two meetings in 2001 and 2002. Players and coaches alike know the recent history and are looking to put an end to this miniature losing streak.
"This is my fifth year here and we have never beat Indiana," Dontez Sanders said. "This is a personal goal that I have and a goal of our team, and I am going to go out there and achieve it this weekend."