Badgers Musings: Wildcats Deliver Death Blow to Badgers
Northwestern Wildcats do not get the respect they deserve in the Big Ten. Northwestern won 12 of their last 13 Big Ten games including on Saturday. That’s not an excuse for the Wisconsin Badgers who fell to their neighbors from the south, 31-17, in an embarrassing performance that once again exposed the flaws of this Wisconsin team. We saw exactly why Alex Hornibrook kept his job through the last year with Jack Coan looks unprepared and not ready for the moment as he struggled at quarterback. Badgers are now in second place in the Big Ten West completely hopeless as Northwestern controls their own destiny.
Jonathan Taylor fails to launch
In arguably his worst game of his career, Jonathan Taylor failed to get to 100 yards for the first time in eight games. Taylor rushed for only 46 yards and fumbled the ball twice. Northwestern had a perfect game plan for Taylor. You wonder if other teams will try to borrow that plan and attack Wisconsin in a similar fashion for the weeks to come. Taylor needs to figure out his fumbling. He’s the worst fumbler in college football. It will decrease his NFL stock if he continues down this path.
Turnovers were the major issue on Saturday
The defense still had some question marks, but the offense did this team a disservice on Saturday. They had three turnovers, and all three turnovers ended up into points for Northwestern. Wildcats scored 17 of their 31 points off Wisconsin turnovers. That’s not going to win you football games. The team needs to collectively be better in that category.
Another game, another 100 yard rusher
I’ve questioned Jim Leonhard a little bit because the defense seems flawed compared to last years’ or the teams prior. They kept giving up yards on the ground. Sure, it took Isaiah Bowser (Great name) 34 carries to get 117 yards, but still, Wisconsin let him beat them with tiny paper cuts. Wisconsin’s front seven didn’t shut him down and let him drain out the game. 3.4 yards per carry isn’t much, but still if you run him three straight times at that average, it’s a first down. Not a good effort by the defense even though they were up against a short field too much this week.
Just like after the loss to Michigan, Wisconsin gets a palate cleanser playing woeful Rutgers at home. The crowd energy will be likely that of an old folks home, but still, they have a good chance to bounce back in a big way. The good news for Wisconsin is three of the four top Big Ten West teams also lost last week with Iowa and Purdue also falling this week.