Badgers fans at Camp Randall were able to leave happy Saturday night. The University of Wisconsin Badgers (1-1, 0-1 Big Ten) defeated the Eastern Michigan University Eagles (1-1, 0-0 MAC) by a score of 34–7.
The Badgers relied on their strong running game throughout and never looked back, getting out to a 24–0 lead at halftime. All of the backs got in on the action, with four of them finding the end zone.
Chez Mellusi rushed for 144 yards on 20 carries and a score and Jalen Berger got his first touches of the season with a touchdown as well as 64 yards on 15 carries. Isaac Guerendo added excitement with an 82-yard touchdown run at the end of the second quarter.
Graham Mertz was not asked to do much, but looked accurate when asked to throw. Mertz finished 14/17 for 141 yards and avoided a turnover. Badgers fans will hope he can carry this clean play into the next matchup.
The offense was in cruise control throughout the game. EMU did not have an answer to the rushing attack, leading to an avalanche that ultimately couldn’t be stopped.
When needed, receivers were getting open over the middle and Mertz was able to deliver. This game should serve as a confidence boost for the offense as they go forward.
Jim Leonhard’s defensive unit was as strong as expected against the inferior offensive side of Eastern Michigan. The Eagles were held to just three first downs while totaling 16 rushing yards and 92 total yards.
The shutout was spoiled after Wisconsin backup quarterback Chase Wolf threw a fourth quarter interception returned for a touchdown. Nonetheless, the defense got the job done and was strong in all phases.
While the result was not shocking to many, the Badgers will be satisfied with how they competed in this game. Paul Chryst was able to get all facets of the game working smoothly, which should always be the goal against a weaker opponent.
This game was a clean victory that did its job of keeping the 70,967 fans inside Camp Randall pleased.
The Badgers will have a bye in the upcoming week before heading down to Chicago to play against Notre Dame (2-0) and former Badger Jack Coan. The matchup takes place at 11 a.m. Sept. 25 at Soldier Field.