Usually, taking a week off bodes well for teams, but the University of Wisconsin football team came back from their week off and seemed to struggle with the same issues they had earlier in the season.
When Wisconin walked onto the field Saturday afternoon, many people were expecting to see a glimpse of the team that they heard about at BYU. They were expecting to see a dynamic offense that could put many points on the board, and an unstoppable defense that knew how to keep points off the board.
Unfortunately that is not what fans got when they came to Camp Randall, instead they were treated to a game that was reminiscent of the Badgers first game against Utah State or their second game against Florida Atlantic.
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Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook — who managed to throw for 4 touchdowns, 256 yards and completed 18 out of 19 passes — started the game off a little differently, throwing for two interceptions within the first quarter of the game. Granted, some of Hornibrook’s struggles might have come from the absence of his number one target Troy Fumagalli, but the UW quarterback certainly did not look like the kind of guy who was capable of breaking a school record.
The absence of Fumagalli, who was taken out of the Wisconsin lineup late Friday night due to a minor leg injury, was noticed when you looked at the Wisconsin offense. It took at least the first two periods for routes to start becoming successful, and if it wasn’t for running back Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin might not have even garnered a touchdown within the first half of the game.
This season, the Badgers have been playing a rather tilted game. During the first half of the game UW is shaky at best, but when they come out of the tunnel after half time they become an unstoppable machine.
While this style of play was enough to get them by during the first few weeks of the season, it cannot become something Wisconsin is known for. The Badgers need to find a way to create momentum in the first half of the game, and they need to find a way to be more consistent between halves.
Even their second half was rocky, as UW allowed two touchdowns in the last five minutes of the game. Up until this point, the Wisconsin defense had managed to hold their opponents to a scoreless second half, but something just wasn’t clicking.
While it’s great Wisconsin won their first Big Ten game of the season, the team’s struggles are becoming more and more apparent, and it seems as though this team has started to regress from where they started the season. Major changes need to be made if the Badgers can hope to get back to the Big Ten Championship game and win it this year.
33 Wisconsin Final Score Northwestern 24
Post game sounds:
Paul Chryst on the improvements that need to be made:
“It’s too easy to say it’s off the bye. It comes down to good football and executing, and we knew this was going to be the best team that we played to this point. But we just — it’s the fundamentals. It’s the little things. What’s empowering is those are the things that we can control. Defensively, I thought there was a lot of moments we played really well, but we’ve got to run our feet and do a better job of not having too many missed tackles in key situations. Offensively, you have to protect the football, whether it’s the ball carrier or the quarterback. So I think, you know, we’ve just got to continue to work and improve. Yet all those things happened, and that’s part of it, and it’s how you respond, and that’s what I was proud of, the way the guys continued to play and respond and come together.”
Chris Orr on how the defense can make the first half of the game as successful as the second half of the game:
“Attitude, that’s all it is in the second half. It’s not like we’re making some big halftime adjustments or like we’re changing the whole game plan. It’s just attitude”