Game of the Week Preview: Sun Prairie at Middleton

posted by Jimmie Kaska - 

Sun Prairie (6-1) at Middleton (5-2) - 6:45pm Friday on 1070 AM and iHeartRadio

Last Year: While the first half was very close, Sun Prairie's depth wore down an injury-plagued Middleton squad in Week 2 last year to the tune of a 34-6 victory for Sun Prairie, although the game was pretty close until about the midway point of the third quarter. It was also our game broadcast on The Big 1070, so re-live it here.

Last Week: Sun Prairie romped to a 56-8 win over Madison East, making it four straight games of 40 or more points scored by the Cardinals. Since their season-opening loss to Madison Memorial, Sun Prairie has reeled off six straight wins... Middleton blew out Janesville Craig at home by scoring 32 points unanswered to win 42-7. The Cardinals ran for 278 yards, including 157 by Kallion Buckner, and Bryce Carey scored three touchdowns in the win.

Season To Date: As noted above, Sun Prairie has been on a serious roll, winning six straight and scoring tons of points along the way. Outside of a 43-35 win over Verona, the Cardinals have given up just 21 points in five other games this year. However, against Memorial and Verona, Sun Prairie has allowed 67 points combined, for 88 total on the year--about 12 and a half points per contest. On the other hand, since scoring a season-low 26 points in the opener, Sun Prairie has scored 35 points or more in every game since, putting up 308 total points. 227 of them have come in the first half... Middleton, by comparison, has allowed a combined 57 points in their two losses to Verona and Madison Memorial, both coming down to the final minute. They've allowed just 13 points in their other five games for 70 total, exactly 10 points per game. On offense, Middleton's scored at least 22 points in every game, and scoring over 38 points per game so far this year. 180 of their 269 points have been scored in the first half.

Coaches' Corner: Co-Head Coach at Middleton, Tim Simon, has gone 8-8 in his career against Sun Prairie. He spoke to us about how Middleton would need to control the line of scrimmage and establish their strong running game against Sun Prairie's talented group of linebackers. Middleton's tough losses on the field, combined with dealing with flooding earlier this year, has given them plenty of adversity to overcome as they close in on the postseason... Brian Kaminski is 8-9 against Middleton in his career, and talked about the fact that both coaching staffs have been working against each other for a long time,so there aren't any secrets. Speaking of, Sun Prairie's keys to victory are all fairly fundamental, like taking care of the ball and finding a way to slow down Middleton's ground game.

Three Keys: 1. It'll be strength on strength in most departments in what could be a wet night on the turf at Otto Breitenbach Stadium. Middleton's ground game needs to get established against Sun Prairie's difficult linebacker group, as their pass game has averaged under 100 yards per game this season. 2. Sun Prairie, on the other hand, has been excellent passing the ball, particularly to Cooper Nelson, but in wet and possibly windy conditions, their ground game becomes important to control the clock and avoid turnovers. 3. If it's a close game, there isn't an edge in special teams. Both teams have multiple kickers and punters that can hit long field goals and pin teams deep on punts, so field position will be a huge factor.

Five Players To Watch: It's hard not to focus in on the talented Cooper Nelson for Sun Prairie. He's a game-breaking receiver who is averaging nearly 100 yards per game through the air and has scored 11 touchdowns in seven games... Middleton's ground game is powered by Kallion Buckner, who is closing in on 1,000 yards rushing this week. He needs 103 yards to get there. He's also put up 10 touchdowns on the ground this year... While Sun Prairie has had a long run of excellent pass rushers, how about Maven Kretche, who has six sacks in seven games this year? He's also third on the team in tackles, so he's not only a situational rusher. That'll be big against a team that likes to run... Middleton's Bryce Carey has over 1,000 combined passing and rushing yards this season, and has accounted for 13 touchdowns. He's completed 43 passes and had 45 rushing attempts on the year... on the other side, Sun Prairie's Richie Gilles has racked up 1,257 yards passing with a sterling ratio 18 touchdowns against two picks, and has also added five rushing touchdowns to his total.

Listen to the game this Friday night at 7pm on 1070 AM and thebig1070.com!

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