It was by no means a perfect day for Bart Houston and the University of Wisconsin football team, but the fifth-year senior won his first collegiate start Saturday, when he threw two poor interceptions against Louisiana State University.
The first came late in the first quarter in the end zone. LSU’s secondary blanketed UW’s receivers, and Houston had nowhere to go. Instead of throwing the ball away and settling for a field goal, Houston tried to force it. The result was no points and a turnover.
The second interception was even more costly. LSU cornerback Tre’Davious White picked off Houston at the UW 21-yard line and returned it for six points, flipping the game’s momentum and getting the Tigers on the board for the first time.
Houston’s first read, he said, was to tight end Troy Fumagalli, who was covered. His second option was to second-string tight end, Kyle Penniston, to whom he tried to complete the pass, but it was too late.
Both of those instances are two areas where Houston said he needs to improve: ball security and situational awareness.
UW head coach Paul Chryst also used the term “situational awareness” during his news conference Monday.
“Bart can’t try to do too much,” Chryst said. “We got to help him, but you don’t want that to be part of who you are, and I think that’s the challenge that he slash we have.”
LSU coach Les Miles suspended guard Josh Boutte Monday for one game for leveling Wisconsin safety D’Cota Dixon after Dixon reeled in the game-clinching interception with less than a minute to go.
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When asked about his feelings toward the suspension, Chryst mostly evaded the question, but said he was “proud” of how the Badgers handled the situation in the heat of the game.
“I was really proud of the way our players responded,” Chryst said. “I thought that was big time.”
UW redshirt junior inside linebacker Jack Cichy was glad his teammate wasn’t injured, but played devil’s advocate for Boutte.
“It’s a heat of the moment,” Cichy said. “Like I guess coach Miles said after the game, you don’t necessarily know the guy’s intent. As a lineman, maybe he didn’t see D’Cota go down.”
Jump in the polls
The unranked Badgers upset the No. 5 Tigers, but that won’t be the case against Akron University at Camp Randall Saturday.
Roughly two hours after coming in at No. 16 in the Coaches Poll, Wisconsin checked in at No. 10 in the Associated Press Poll. UW is now ahead of Michigan State (No. 12) and Iowa (No. 16), and is the third-highest ranked team in the Big Ten behind Ohio State (No. 4) and Michigan (No. 5).
The Badgers will play all of those teams by Oct. 22.
The No. 10 ranking is the highest Wisconsin has been ranked since 2011, when the Badgers were 6-0 with Russell Wilson quarterbacking the squad.