So this will be a bit of a challenge to write about, because honestly I partied a bit to hardily at the Baseball Tavern and my memory of this game is a little spotty, to say the least. I know Wisconsin beat Minnesota and maintained possession of Paul Bunyan’s axe, which is a pretty awesome trophy if I do say so myself. Anyway, the Badgers won 31-28. The hero of the day was definitely John Clay, who rushed for 3 TDs and 184 yards of total offense. He was the absolute key to the Badgers offense, allowing Wisconsin to eat up clock time and control the pace of the game throughout its entirety. All in all, the Badgers rushed for nearly 300 yards, and that’s a great way to control the ball and set the pace of the game.
Scott Tolzien, the Wisconsin quarterback, played all right. He threw for just under 170 yards and had a nice passing TD to Lance Kendricks. He also gave up an interception, unfortunately. I think Tolzien is rounding into a competent quarterback. He’s not a great quarterback, not like John Stocco was, but he can efficiently run Badgers offense and lead the team when he is called on to do so. I think the strength of this team still lies in its running game, though, and that running game will need to continue to perform well if the Badgers want to contend for a bowl game this season. Were a game to be put in the hands of Scott Tolzien alone, I’m still not convinced he could win it for us.
Defensively, I really think this team has some talented players on it. I continue to be impressed with O’Brien Schofield. Schofield is right up there with any defensive star in the NCAA and I think the Badgers really have something in him. I love watching him play. He plays with talent, ferocity, and control, and he is an absolute monster pass rusher. If the Badgers can keep him healthy, I think he could give any opposing quarterback fits, no matter how talented.
Unlike the last game I watched from the Badgers, I really feel they earned this victory. They didn’t get lucky, they didn’t receive a bunch of penalties in their favor, and they didn’t rely on Minnesota making mistakes in order for them to win the game. Simply put, they outplayed the Golden Gophers. Their offense played superior football, and the only reason Minnesota was even IN this game in the 4th quarter was because Wisconsin fumbled and the Gophers recovered for a TD. Quite honestly, Minnesota was lucky this game wasn’t a complete blowout.
In any event, Wisconsin won. They improve to 5-0. Unfortunately, everyone they’ve beaten so far are unranked teams. This means that for the 5th week in a row, the Badgers will go unranked, despite their run of success this season so far. I think it will take a victory against a ranked opponent for Wisconsin to get ranked, which is a good thing. It will show us for once how good this team is comparatively. If they can beat a ranked team, say Iowa in a couple of weeks, it will show that Wisconsin deserves to be considered among the top programs this season. If they lose, it will show that the Badgers are just an above average team beating up on inferior opponents. I’m looking forward to finding out which is the case.