Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Badgers’ hopes of winning the Big Ten West crushed at home

Wisconsin falls to Northwestern, drops third straight
Soren Goldsmith

The University of Wisconsin’s hopes of remaining in contention for the Big Ten Championship were officially killed this past Saturday, as UW suffered their worst loss of the season at the hands of Northwestern University 24-10.

The loss served as the perfect metaphor for the Badgers’ season. Once again, a slow start, paired with self-sabotage on both sides of the football, led to UW’s demise.

The Badgers now drop to just 3-4 in conference play under first year head coach Luke Fickell, who took the brunt of the blame for this week’s ugly loss.


“There’s not much of a statement,” Fickell said in his postgame opening remarks. “That’s embarrassing, and I take the blame for not having guys ready, and not at any phase of the game.”

The Badgers got off to yet another slow start this past Saturday. After kicker Nathanial Vakos scored the game’s first points with a field goal, the Badger offense was held scoreless until the fourth quarter.

The Badgers’ inability to run the football played a major factor in UW’s offensive struggles. Braelon Allen, who is still recovering from a lower leg injury, played just three offensive snaps before being pulled from the game.

While the final statline shows the Badgers rushed for 86 yards, a deeper look at the box score tells a much different story. 

Through three quarters, the Badgers’ offense had just 34 total yards on the ground. It wasn’t until the game was well out of reach that the Badgers began to move the ball effectively on the ground, going for 52 yards in the fourth quarter.

Football: Wisconsin can’t overcome self-sabotage in Bloomington, fall to 5-4

With the Badgers unable to move the ball on the ground, the brunt of the offensive workload was placed in the hands of Tanner Mordecai. 

Mordecai, making his first start since breaking his hand against Iowa, threw the ball 41 times for 255 yards and no touchdowns. While he was able to connect on some big plays, including a 35-yard pass to sophomore speedster Vinny Anthony, the Badgers’ inability to run made relying on the pass all the more difficult. 

As a result, the Badgers once again struggled on third down. UW converted just nine of its 17 opportunities. Once again, it felt as if every time the Badgers were clawing their way back into the game, an untimely penalty or an offensive miscue reared its ugly head.

The Badgers’ abysmal play spread to the defensive side of the ball as well. Northwestern scored on each of its first half drives, including three unanswered touchdowns to open the game.

Unlike the Badgers, the Wildcats had no problem converting on third downs. Northwestern’s offense converted on all but one of its third down opportunities in the first half, including a perfect 10/10 start in the category.

The Badgers’ defense was able to flip the script in the second half, holding Northwestern off the scoreboard entirely and only allowing 30 yards of total offense. Unfortunately, the offense’s inability to score quelled any hopes of a comeback.

The Badgers’ lone offensive touchdown came on a Jackson Acker run with 11 seconds left in the fourth quarter. 

With the Badgers officially out of contention for the Big Ten West title, Fickell’s squad will now turn their attention to becoming bowl eligible for the 22nd straight year. The Badgers will need to win at least one of their final two games to qualify for bowl season. 

UW’s next opportunity to get back in the win column comes next Saturday, as the Badgers welcome a surging University of Nebraska team to Camp Randall.

“It’s tough to continue to dwell upon those things,” Fickell said. “You have got to learn from them, but you gotta move forward. So, the challenge has been, for our guys in particular, is how do we move forward? How do we move on?”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *