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Upon Further Review: Yes, refs have been dangerous however Badgers have been worse in defeat

Let’s get this out of the best way proper on the high: The referees made some perplexing, curious and downright confounding calls in Wisconsin’s recreation at Northwestern, particularly on the Wildcats’ first landing drive.

But accountable the Badgers’ 17-7 defeat on the boys within the striped shirts is ignoring the whole lot else which occurred within the recreation.

There have been some vibrant spots. The protection performed properly, for probably the most half. Andy Vujnovich had just a few good punts. Freshman Jalen Berger rushed for 93 yards on 15 carries, though simply 29 on seven rushes within the second half.

But this recreation was extra about Wisconsin’s inefficiencies.

Playing with out its high two broad receivers – each Danny Davis and Kendric Pryor have been listed as out on gameday – Wisconsin’s offense struggled to maneuver the ball all day. And when the Badgers did get issues going, it shot itself within the foot with penalties – UW had three false begins regardless of it being an almost empty stadium – or turning the ball over, which it did seven occasions – three on interceptions, twice on fumbles and twice on downs.

The Badgers had two drives which lasted greater than seven performs – one was 9 performs for 20 yards and the opposite eight for 43 – each ended with Wisconsin failing on a fourth-down play. Wisconsin didn’t have one play within the purple zone.

Other than the lone landing – a 49-yard go to Chimere Dike – Wisconsin averaged 3.91 yards per play.

There have been additionally some fascinating teaching selections, akin to punting on fourth-and-Three from the Northwestern 36 and, down 14-7, foregoing a area aim and going for it on fourth-and-6 from the 23 solely to see the Wildcats blitz and sack quarterback Graham Mertz.

That’s simply not going to get it finished, it doesn’t matter what flags the refs throw.

Game story | Photo gallery

Here’s a recap of Saturday’s recreation:



The protection deserves credit score on this one – Northwestern had simply 263 yards together with a paltry 24 on the bottom, averaging 3.9 yards per play. Inside linebacker Jack Sanborn led the best way with 14 tackles, 10 solo. Nine of his stops have been for two or fewer yards. Another was for 4 yards on a second-and-9 (and he bought a sack on the following play) with one other a five-yard achieve on third-and-11.



Fellow inside linebacker Leo Chenal was second on the workforce with six tackles however the place he made noise was getting stress on Northwestern quarterback Peyton Ramsey. Chenal had 5 quarterback hurries, probably the most for a Badgers defender since Joe Schobert had 5 in opposition to Iowa on Oct. 3, 2015. The solely different participant to have 4 QBH since 2009 was Chris Borland, with 4 vs. Michigan State on Sept. 26, 2009. No one had greater than three QBH in a highway recreation in that span till Chenal on Saturday.



Despite this being a ragged recreation, there are just a few notable moments. The greatest play most likely occurred late within the second quarter with the rating tied at 7. Wisconsin bought the ball at its personal 37 following a brief punt and moved to midfield. On third-and-8, Jack Dunn was open however Mertz threw too excessive and it was intercepted. Northwestern took over from its personal 28 with 2:15 to play however threw the ball downfield in simply 1:19, culminating in a 25-yard landing catch, the fourth completion of 12+ yards on the drive. Potential factors for Wisconsin was a lead for Northwestern. It was the pivotal turnover for Badgers and the largest dive of the sport for the Wildcats as a result of Wisconsin had no solutions within the second half.



5 – variety of Wisconsin turnovers. Make no mistake, it’s lots. Even although Northwestern solely scored seven factors off them (see above), giving the ball up clearly will not be good for the offense. It’s additionally not a recipe for profitable. Entering Saturday, FBS groups have been 1-11 when turning it over 5+ occasions in 2020. It was the primary time the Badgers had 5 turnovers in a recreation in precisely 5 years – Nov. 21, 2015 in a recreation in opposition to, sure Northwestern (greatest generally known as the Jazz Peavy non-touchdown recreation).



“We got to play better. Obviously when you turn the ball over the numbers of times we did, it makes it harder. … We didn’t do the things to sustain drives.” — Chryst


“I don’t know there’s many quarterbacks that don’t go through those highs and those lows and you have to continue to work through trying to be consistent when things are going well and when they’re not going well.” — Chryst on Mertz


“Those are tough calls to be made. That’s why we’re not referees. … I questioned some of them, but that’s all I really have to say about that. We can’t fight for it. They do what they needed to do and that’s the results that we had.” — security Eric Burrell


“I’m excited to see where this team takes the next step. It’s going to be a great team from here now on. We’re going to learn from it tomorrow, we’re going to flush it and we’re going to keep the Axe.” — Mertz



There’s no time to pout for Wisconsin because the Badgers host rival Minnesota on Saturday at 1 p.m. for Paul Bunyan’s Axe. After dropping to the Gophers for the primary time in over a decade in 2018, Wisconsin upended Minnesota final season 38-17. The Gophers started the season 1-Three however are coming off a giant 34-31 victory over Purdue.

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