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 look to take the next step

The taste of victory was still fresh in the Badgers’ mouths Tuesday, three days after Saturday’s colossal upset of the Ohio State Buckeyes.

“At the beginning of the year we circled the Ohio State game on the calendar,” sophomore wide receiver Brandon Williams admitted. “It was the one we knew we wanted to win.”

But this Saturday’s game against Purdue will present the Badgers — and particularly their offense — with as difficult a task as any they have seen to date. And if the Badgers hope to continue on their path to a Big Ten title, the Boilermakers also will present them with as important a step as the one they have just taken. In order to take this next step, Wisconsin needs only to look at what allowed them to take the last step.


“We don’t need to change what we’ve been doing. If we just go out and play like we know we can play, we’ll be in it,” emerging Badger star Booker Stanley said.

“We just have to practice hard — same as we did last week,” the freshman running back said. “Beating Ohio State has given us a lot of confidence. We know what we can do when we execute.”

Both Williams and Stanley dismissed the possibility of a let down in team intensity after such an emotional weekend.

“Every game in the Big Ten gets us up,” said Stanley. “Every team in this conference is good.”

Williams agreed. “Every week is a struggle in the Big Ten. There’s a parity of talent, so it’s just which team is most effective with their talent.”

Wisconsin’s play in the first quarter Saturday will serve as a good indicator of how effective it will be against Purdue. The Boilermakers have outscored their opponents 54-3 in first quarters this year, including a backbreaking 20-0 start against Illinois two weeks ago. Wake Forest is the only team to have scored against them in the first quarter, and that field goal came over a month ago.

“Jumping out of the gate and getting the momentum right away will be so important,” Stanley said. “It’ll help us get some control.”

“Putting up some points in the first quarter is going to be very important,” Williams added. “We need to come out and run the ball — just pound it into them. We need to come out and get ourselves an eight minute scoring drive right away so they won’t be able to get out to the kind of start they’ve been getting.”

Another crucial offensive element this week will be the manner in which the Badgers deal with the speedy Boilermaker defense.

“Yeah, they’re really fast,” Williams said. “A lot of their d-backs are sprinters.”

Beating Ohio State has given Williams and his teammates confidence that they can contend with anyone.

“Hey, we’re pretty fast too,” he said. “We’ll just have to match our speed up with their speed and then try to make the plays when we need them.”

“Besides,” he continued, “we can also just overpower them.”

This strategy may surprise some, as Purdue’s defense has been brilliant against the run thus far this year, only allowing more than 100 yards on the ground on one occasion. Despite this, the Badgers plan to continue their hard-nosed reliance on the rushing attack.

“That’s what Wisconsin football is,” Williams said. “That’s what we are. We go out there and we run the ball. We establish the run so that when we do want to attack the secondary, we can.”

And that’s what the Badgers plan to do this weekend at Camp Randall: keep playing “Wisconsin football,” by sticking with what has worked all year, and more importantly, with what worked last week against the defending national champions.

“The confidence that beating Ohio State has given us [is] knowing that if we come in and execute our game plan to the fullest, we can do what we need to do to win,” Williams said. “We don’t think we need to change anything big. If we play the way we’ve played, the ball will keep rolling the way it’s been rolling.”

For the Badger offense to keep the ball rolling this season, they’ll need the ball to roll the right way more than a few times: Purdue, Minnesota, Michigan State.

“They’re all the same,” Williams said. “We’ll just have to take it one step at a time.”

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