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Badgered Into Submission

Posted By Jeremy Hall On Nov 27 2011 @ 10:38 am In Penn State | No Comments

The Nittany Lion offense got off to a great start against Wisconsin in yesterday’s battle for the Big Ten Leaders Division title as they opened up the game with an 80-yard touchdown drive. However, that was the only scoring drive Penn State was able to muster against an underrated Badger defense often overshadowed by its outstanding offense. In fact, it was total and utter domination for the Badgers in the remaining 51:16 of yesterday’s lopsided 45-7 drubbing of the Nittany Lions. Wisconsin not only earned the title of Big Ten Leaders Division champions with this convincing win, but they also realized an opportunity to avenge an earlier season loss to Michigan State. The Badgers will now set their sights on a trip to Pasadena by winning the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game next Saturday night in Lucas Oil Stadium. Penn State on the other hand, will have to wait and see just how far their “bowl stock” falls amid the aftermath of an implausible sexual abuse scandal. It looks like many Bowl Selection Committees will pass over the 9-3 (6-2 Big Ten) Nittany Lions in an effort to avoid the negative undertones associated with Penn State despite their successful season. I understand that one’s image, even a business’, is extremely important, but it would be a genuine injustice to punish the Penn State players and coaches who had nothing to do with this indignity.

I don’t want to dismiss what Wisconsin did on the field, but it seemed to be a case of Murphy’s Law for the Nittany Lions on Saturday afternoon in Camp Randall Stadium as everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong. Penn State is typically a very fundamentally sound football team, but a combination of penalties, dropped passes, missed tackles and other ill-advised miscues proved to be too much to overcome. However, one of the major culprits in Penn State’s collapse yesterday was undoubtedly the turnovers they committed. The Nittany Lions brought a +7 turnover margin into this contest, but uncharacteristically turned the ball over 4 times against the Badgers. Not surprisingly, two of Penn State’s three losses this season came in games where their turnover margin was -2 or worse (-3 in their losses to Alabama and Wisconsin). Matt McGloin and the Penn State offense looked great on their first drive of the game as they put together an 80-yard scoring drive capped off by a 44-yard touchdown strike to Curtis Drake. Although that early game success all seemed to fade away on Penn State’s next possession as Matt McGloin threw an interception to Shelton Johnson. Wisconsin took full advantage of the turnover as they scored a touchdown, knotting the score at 7 and the Badgers never looked back. Silas Redd had a productive game as he rushed for 66 yards on 12 carries but a large second half deficit forced Penn State to throw the ball in a futile attempt to get back into the game. The Nittany Lions need to put this game behind them and prepare for their upcoming bowl game.

The Badgers improved their record to 10-2 (6-2 Big Ten) on the season with yesterday’s convincing 45-7 win in Madison. Wisconsin controlled every facet of this game especially in the trenches where the Badgers imposed their will on the deflated Nittany Lions. Wisconsin kept the Nittany Lions in check on Saturday afternoon by holding them to 7 points and a miniscule 233 yards of total offense. The Badgers rolled up 450 total yards of offense, they were 9-16 on third down conversions and forced 4 Penn State turnovers. Russell Wilson continued his outstanding quarterback play throwing for 186 yards and two scores as he completed 19 out of 29 passes. He will definitely have an opportunity to show the nation what he can do at the next level. Monte Ball had a huge game by gaining 156 yards on 25 carries and scoring 4 touchdowns increasing his total to 34 on the season. Ball now sits in second place on the All Time Single Season Touchdown List behind Barry Sanders (39 touchdowns). It’s hard to believe that neither one of these Wisconsin standouts is being considered for the Heisman. The Badgers will now begin to gear up for a rematch with Michigan State next week in Indianapolis. We might be talking about Wisconsin playing for a possible BCS Championship had it not been for two final second defeats in back to back weeks, one of those coming at the hands of the Spartans.

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Ohio State Buckeyes

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