At times it was pretty, other times it was not. When it was all said and done on Saturday afternoon at Camp Randall, the Badgers were flocking to the Paul Bunyan Axe as they defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 41-23.
Like every rivalry game, this one did not go without controversy. After the Badgers scored their sixth and final touchdown of the game midway through the fourth quarter, Badger Head Coach Bret Bielema elected to go for a two-point conversion despite leading by 25 points. Minnesota Head Coach Tim Brewster was steaming after the play when camera’s showed him on the sidelines and had a heated exchange with Bielema as the two met in the middle of the field after the game. Bielema made a reference to the “two-point conversion chart” all coaches use when determining if going for it is the best option for their team at the time. I’m not buying that. I do think it was a little bush league. There’s got to be something going on there that we don’t know about. Maybe some recruiting situation, but normally a head coach doesn’t elect to go for two up 25 points in the fourth quarter.
At times on Saturday the Badgers offense was dominating the football game. The big boys up front continually opened holes for John Clay and James White. Clay started the game for Bucky but White was quickly worked in to show the Gophers different looks. Both backs finished with over 100 yards, something Badger fans should start getting used to. White continues to impress, breaking several long runs after getting to the edge. Teams are going to start to take that away as he gets noticed with these big games. On one particular play, White broke down a Minnesota defender causing him to nearly fall. White took the ball 24 yards to the Minnesota 1 and plunged in on the next play. Clay looked better than last week and continues to get in shape as the season rolls on. I’d expect a heavy does (no pun intended) of him against Ohio State this week.
Scott Tolzien had a bounce back game after a disappointing performance against Michigan State. He quickly worked in Nick Toon after he was vocal about not getting enough opportunities against the Spartans. Wisconsin used bubble screens all game long and the Gophers never made adjustments. Lance Kendricks was once again impressive in the receiving game and in run blocking, recording several pancake blocks. If there is a better tight end in the nation right now, I’d love to know who it is.
Bucky’s defense was solid in the first half but very disappointing in the second half, specifically the fourth quarter. They gave up six plays of over 20 yards, with four coming in the final stanza. J.J. Watt finally got some help from his teammates as linebacker Mike Taylor played an excellent game. Taylor was flying to the football and registered three tackles for loss. I thought Antonio Fenelus had good coverage throughout the game but the same can not be said on the other side of the field with Niles Brinkley. Brinkley is continually getting beat in one-on-one coverage and is out of position more times than not. Fenelus did give up a touchdown on a fantastic catch but the coverage could not have been much better.
All in all, the Badgers did what they had to do. They could have had a hangover effect from the tough loss in East Lansing and also overlooked Minnesota going into Ohio State weekend but they didn’t. They fought a pesky Gopher squad who would not go away. In the end the size and strength of the Badgers was too much for the northwest neighbors.
Up next is the #1 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. Mad-town will be rockin’ as ESPN College Gameday will be broadcasting live on Saturday before the 6:00 start in Camp Randall. The Badgers will have to clean up the sloppy play on defense and get after Pryor for a chance at knocking off the top-ranked Buckeyes.
P.S….check this out, pretty sweet
About the Author
Written by Chad Seely
Hey sports fans! Welcome to my Wisconsin Badgers football blog. For any Badger scores, news or questions you may have, come check out this blog! For those who don't know me, I'm a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. I graduated in May 2009 with a Broadcast Journalism degree and returned in Fall 2009 to get a Minor in Multimedia which I completed in May 2010. In the summer, you can catch me on AM1230 WSBB, splitting time as the play-by-play announcer and color commentator for the Daytona Cubs, the Advanced-A Affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.