The Badgers did not look like they suffered through heartbreaks the previous two weeks on Saturday. If anything, they looked more dominant than they looked going into those games. The dominance shown on Saturday gives me hope to see them playing in Indy for the B1G title in its inaugural season. With what Wilson, Ball, and the rest of the team demonstrated, I could see no other team more deserving to be there.
Defense was solid to me during this game. They had a couple trip ups, but honestly, it seems that as a unit, they cleaned up a lot from the mistake-ridden performances of the past two games. The secondary seemed better and more focused on their job. To be honest, they looked more physical on tackles and coverage than they have all year. Fenelus leveled some of the Purdue receivers in a fashion I was waiting to see from any and/or all of them. Had they been playing like that, I don’t think we would have had such heartbreak inEast Lansing and Columbus.
The stats don’t lie either. Defense held the Boilermakers to only 284 total yards of offense. No matter what Purdue tried to produce on offense, the Badgers had answers for it all. Terbush was picked off twice; Marve didn’t really make any difference at QB. Hell, our QB ran for more yards than Purdue’s Bolden. The line was a solid wall nearly all 60 minutes. I never really give a lot of love to defenses; I’ll be the first to admit it. But, Henry, Borland, Butrym, and all the rest really stepped up their game and should be recognized for it. On the side, it looks like Henry’s injury is nothing serious.
Did you see our offense?! Honestly, I have to admit, after a stagnant run game in Columbus, I was interested to see how Ball and White bounced back. I got quite a shock from the combined attack. Ball rushed for 223 yards and 3 TDs. Ball is looking better and better as time goes on. Bielema was quoted as saying, “He’s wired in a way right now where he expects success on every play.” Personally, this was evident on Saturday. Ball seemed unstoppable. Ball took every snap on the drive that went four plays starting early in the 3rd and added six more to the total. Oh, and he has more rushing TDs thanRichardson out ofAlabama.
White had a few carries that produced as well. His two TDs were walk-ins. He was barely touched heading for the end zone when he scored. As much as I love Montee Ball, White just has a quickness and ability to cut any direction he pleases. When that line gives him the hole, he’s picking up yardage, moving the chains, and letting Ball get some needed rest. He truly has settled into his role and sincerely, I don’t think there’s a better 1-2 punch in the nation. When we utilize our backs well and stick toWisconsinfootball, there really is no chance at stopping them. SureOhioStateheld them to under 90 yards, but that performance only motivated the both of them to run harder and honestly, there may be no stopping them now.
As long as we’re on the topic of offense, did you seeWilson? This guy never ceases to amaze me. On and off the field. But, what he accomplishes on the field is almost surgical some weeks. Saturday was no exception.Wilsonexecuted perfectly. He threw for 205 yards, 0 interceptions and 2 TDs. He rushed for one TD as well. That bootleg was so flawless that the Purdue defender had no idea where the ball was for at least 10 seconds. I think only once he sawWilsoncelebrating did he know what happened. Trust me; it’s worth a second look. Besides that, when we return to our brand of football,Wilsondoesn’t have to be a miracle worker. Sure, he gives the reputation of it when he extends plays another 15 seconds, but with Ball and White backing him up well, he plays a much better and consistent game.
I think Duckworth deserves a shout out too for that amazing reception. Nice work.
If there’s one place we have to focus some coaching on, it has to be Special Teams. They looked sloppy and seemed not to remember how to tackle. The Boilermakers almost had more yards off of kick returns than they did on offense. Mostert seemed to be running wherever and however he wanted with no real threat of tackle from our boys. I honestly think that the Special Teams for the Badgers looked better with their 2nd and 3rd stringers in during the 4th quarter than they did all day. Take a hint and let them play next week.
To address the whole Purdue getting robbed on calls Saturday, even as a Badger fan, I too disagreed with some of those calls. The only thing I can say is you have to call a spade a spade; do you really think those penalties would have helped them in any way to stay in that game? Not a chance. I will give you the point that it did hurt them in terms of morale. But,Wisconsinwas focused on coming back and showing the nation what we’re all about and nothing was stopping that show.
Wins are always fun and great memories, but like our state motto, we have to look Forward. I refuse to let the Gophers get Paul Bunyan’s axe back. It’s ours and it will be residing in Madison one more year. Yeah, I said it.