Wisconsin helping Florida Atlantic in case of Irma
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — No. 9 Wisconsin is extending a helping hand to its next nonconference opponent.
Florida Atlantic plans to arrive in Madison in time for the game Saturday against the Badgers, though the return trip is in question with Hurricane Irma potentially making landfall in South Florida this weekend.
The stakes of what should be a rather easy victory for Wisconsin have become a secondary concern. The schools have discussed contingencies to accommodate Florida Atlantic if the team can't return to its Boca Raton campus because of the storm, including extra nights in hotel rooms and the use of the Badgers' athletic and training facilities.
"Whatever we need to do to accommodate that," Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said. "Those are real things to the players and obviously to any of the teams down there."
It might be tough enough for the Owls (0-1) to focus on a game in which they will be decided underdogs. They may have a new high-profile coach in Lane Kiffin, but the talent level doesn't match the team that they'll have to face on the road at Camp Randall Stadium.
Last week, Florida Atlantic got dented for 416 yards and five touchdowns on 48 carries by Navy's triple-option attack in a 42-19 loss at home. Now the Owls have to face the Badgers' no-gimmick, in-your-face run game.
Starting running back Bradrick Shaw was questionable with a right leg injury, though Wisconsin still has plenty of options. Freshman Jonathan Taylor had a terrific debut last week with 87 yards on nine carries. Chris James, a transfer from Pittsburgh, is eager is to get over a slow start after playing in his first game since the 2015 season.
The Badgers (1-0) as a whole got off to a slow start in the opener against Utah State, falling behind 10-0 early before blowing away the Aggies for a 59-10 win. Expect Wisconsin to try to establish the run early against the Owls.
Chryst said the Badgers missed some runs by the smallest of details early in the opener, whether it was a lineman making a wrong move, or a back needing to be a little more patient.
"They just didn't hit it where it was designed to go," Chryst said. "We had a chance for it to be bigger."