Minutes after Vince Biegel entered the University of Wisconsin football team’s 30-6 statement win over Michigan State University on the road, the fifth-year outside linebacker tweeted the following:
Keep sleeping on Wisconsin……
— Vince Biegel (@VinceBiegel) September 24, 2016
Wisconsin is currently ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press’ latest polls released Sunday afternoon. So not everyone is “sleeping on” the Badgers, clearly. Biegel knows that, but said the tweet represented his mentality.
“What I kind of meant by that was, a lot of people want to overlook Wisconsin,” Biegel said. “Since I’ve been at Wisconsin, I feel like the program at times has been overlooked. I didn’t necessarily mean it for the media or for anybody outside the locker room, but it was more of a message inside the locker room.”
Biegel said the Badgers will take that mentality to No. 4 Michigan this weekend. UW (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) opens the week as 10-point underdogs against the Wolverines (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten). The opening bettor’s line didn’t surprise Biegel, he said, and that he would go about his business as usual.
Biegel said he’s confident the Badgers won’t be favored over Michigan or Ohio State.
“But we’re extremely focused,” Biegel said. “We’re going to let the outside noise take care of itself and in-house we’re going to take care of our business and win ballgames.”
Redshirt junior wide receiver Jazz Peavy felt the same way, in the sense that the Badgers are largely “overlooked” in his opinion. Instead of allowing that sense of disrespect affect the team, Peavy said UW uses it as motivation.
“It just makes you lock in even more,” Peavy said. “It makes you focus and prepare even harder than you usually do. It’s one of those internal things that drives you.”
Reversal of fortunes in red zone
Wisconsin scored touchdowns on all three trips to the red zone Saturday against the Spartans, a departure from the struggles the Badgers had experienced during the first three games of the season.
“Our coaches made a huge deal about finishing in the red zone,” Peavy said. “We gotta make sure we come out with six points every time, especially playing tough times like that — we gotta come out with six. Three is always nice, but six is the goal.”
The Badgers failed to convert on fourth-and-goal against both Louisiana State University and the University of Akron, and settled for far too many field goals against Georgia State before Saturday’s tremendous improvements at Michigan State.
Red zone productivity is always a point of emphasis for UW head coach Paul Chryst.
“It drives me nuts,” Chryst said. “Those are opportunities … you appreciate the points when you can get them, but you gotta get touchdowns.”
Badgers recognized for Michigan State performance
The Big Ten recognized Alex Hornibrook and T.J. Watt Monday morning for their efforts during UW’s win over Michigan State.
Hornibrook was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week. In his first career college start, Hornibrook threw for 196 yards on 16-for-26 passing and a touchdown. The last Badger to earn this honor was T.J. Edwards last season.
Watt earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors as well. He tallied six tackles, 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles-for-loss during the defense’s dominant effort on Saturday.