University of Wisconsin football players know how much Paul Chryst loves to practice red zone scenarios for his offense. The UW head coach feels it is one of the most important components of an offense, and rightfully so. Chances there must be capitalized, and Chryst preaches that to his team constantly.
So, when the Badgers went 3-for-5 from inside the red zone during their 17-9 win over Iowa, Chryst and his players came away not pleased with the success rate. The two missed opportunities came on a fumble at the goal line from senior running back Corey Clement and a missed field goal from 32 yards away by Andrew Endicott.
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“It’s gotta be better,” Chryst said of his red zone offense. “Especially when you’re playing in close games, those matter. If you don’t take advantage of those opportunities, how many times are you going to get back down there?”
Wisconsin currently ranks 112th out of 128 FBS teams in red zone efficiency. UW scores at a 75 percent rate (21-for-28) while inside the red zone, with nine rushing touchdowns, six passing touchdowns and six field goals. The only Big Ten teams that have fared worse in the red zone than Wisconsin are Rutgers, Indiana and Purdue.
Chryst said it is a controllable aspect of the game that relies on execution. He added that red zone efficiency can be the difference between winning or losing and can impact the margin of victory as well, which was the case against the Hawkeyes.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Alex Hornibrook feels there’s plenty of improvement to be made in the red zone, saying the offense needs to score more touchdowns instead of settling for field goals.
Finishing off plays and drives is a problem for the offense, Hornibrook acknowledged.
“We just gotta finish,” Hornibrook said. “That’s all there is to it.”
Freedom Trophy on the line
Since the inception of the trophy in 2014, Wisconsin has gone 2-0 against Nebraska. Of course, the first time the Badgers won it was the Melvin Gordon’s famous 408-yard performance and UW hoisted the trophy after its 59-24 win in Madison. Last year, Rafael Gaglainone kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired to give UW a 23-21 victory in Lincoln.
From the trainer’s room
The news of Jack Cichy’s season-ending injury (torn left pectoral) dominated the injury news cycle Monday, and several other players’ statuses for Saturday are up in the air.
The following Badgers are listed as questionable: outside linebacker Zack Baun (left leg), inside linebacker Griffin Grady (left shoulder), right tackle Jacob Maxwell (right shoulder), cornerback Derrick Tindal (right leg) and cornerback Natrell Jamerson (left leg).
Jamerson has not played since Sept. 10. He was ruled out 4-6 weeks on Sept. 12.
Sophomore nose tackle Olive Sagapolu (right arm) is out.
Beware of traffic
With Freakfast and a late start time for Saturday’s game, UW issued a traffic advisory for football fans attending the game.
Parts of Lake Street, Gilman Street, Johnson Street and Dayton Street will close at 5 p.m.
No vehicles will be allowed to cross Sate Street following 6 p.m. Fans entering Madison from the west via Gorham Street after 6 p.m. will be directed to Blair Street, then John Nolen Drive, then Broom Street and then University Avenue toward Camp Randall.
For east-bound traffic following the game, there will be several options to reach the east side via West Johnson Street:
- North on Park, east on Langdon, south on Wisconsin to get to East Johnson
- South on Bassett, east on West Washington, south on Fairchild, east of West Doty, north on South Webster (leads to either East Washington or can continue to Hamilton Street to East Johnson).
- South on Bassett, east on West Wilson, south on Broom, east on John Nolen, north on North Blair and east on East Washington
The Bucky Shuttle Service will also be affected by the road closures. Shuttles will now pick up from 700 University Avenue near the Chazen Museum of Art and 98 West Gorham Street, with no pick-ups or drop-offs available on State Street.
Shuttles from University Lots 60, 64 and 74 will run as normal.