Author: Sean Horvath
MADISON — WSUM Sports was live at Wisconsin’s 35 to 14 win over Michigan. Here’s how we grade all four aspects of the game.
The badger’s offense set the tempo early on with their run-first game plan. Using their talented backfield, the badgers ate up time of possession, keeping the Michigan defense exhausted out on the field. Johnathan Taylor led the badger run game with 203 yards (143 of which came in the first quarter) on the ground and two touchdowns, despite leaving the field during the second quarter due to cramps. Bradrick Shaw (53 yards), Garrett Groshek (40 yards), and Nakia Watson (31 yards) all helped lighten the load on Taylor and add some variety to the Badgers running attack. In the passing game, Jack Coen didn’t get to shine like he did last week, but key throws to Quintez Cephus and Groshek (combined with Coan’s own rushing touchdown) helped to seal the game away for the Badgers.
The Badgers looked like they had two different defenses out in the first and second halves. Wisconsin kept the wolverines to zero points up until the third quarter when safeties Reggie Pearson and Eric Burrell were both ejected for targeting calls against backup quarterback Dylan McCaffrey. Shea Patterson then came back in to throw for two touchdowns and one interception. Third string QB Joe Milton also saw playing time for Michigan, but his only completion was to the Badgers secondary. A pair of fumble recoveries helped the badgers recover from the first points allowed all season.
Special Teams: C
A missed field goal and a successful onside kick by Michigan tarnished an otherwise uneventful day for the Badgers special teams. The most action was seen by Jack Dunn, who returned four punts for 39 yards. Aron Cruickshank returned one kick for 11 yards and kicker Collin Larsh missed his only field goal attempt. Overall, this is the aspect of the game that needs the most improvement before next week.
The Wisconsin coaching staff did a phenomenal job of controlling the field and utilizing all the talent at their disposal. Head Coach Paul Chyst’s willingness to go for it on early fourth downs set high expectation for this Wisconsin offense, and boy did they meet them. A beautiful pass by Coan to Quintez Cephus on fourth and three set the badgers up nicely in the red zone and kept the ball out of the Wolverines hands. This set up another fourth down on the goal line, in which Coan burst through for his only rushing touchdown of the game. The rotation of backs was just enough to keep Michigan guessing and Taylor productive. This allowed the Badgers to rush for 361 yards on the day and pass for 130. A coaching staffs job is to get wins and instill confidence in their team. I can’t think of a better way to do that than with a blowout win over Michigan on national television.