Victory Monday Overload: Our football guys weigh in

A win like this calls for an extra Victory Monday post, doesn't it?

I wanted to make sure our entire staff had the chance to weigh in on beating Ohio State so we'll hear from them in a second.

But first, I wanted to bring this little nugget to you because it's quite impressive:

Not counting the two end-of-game possessions when UW knelt on the ball to kill the clock, the Badgers have posted touchdowns on their last 23 trips inside the red zone (3 vs. Ohio State, 6 vs. Minnesota, 2 vs. Michigan State, 9 vs. Austin Peay, 2 vs. Arizona State and 1 vs. San Jose State). Their TD percentage of 80.6 inside the red zone is second-best in the country. Last year, UW set a school record by scoring touchdowns on 75.0 percent of its red zone trips.

I can't take credit for that one. It was in my inbox this morning from UW Athletic Communications.

But remember what we were talking about after the first two games? The Badgers were playing volleyball with the pigskin and giving away points in the red zone at a high clip. Now they are second in the country in red zone touchdown production? Crazy.

That, to go along with their minimal penalties and turnovers, shows how well this group is being coached. So you Bret Bielema haters can continue to grasp for straws, but the numbers say otherwise.

OK, time for all of B5Q to have a voice. And feel free to post your own thoughts about the win in the comments section below:

October 16, 2010, will go down as a landmark day in the history of University of Wisconsin athletics. Tell any Badger player, coach, fan or administrator that Madison would be at the epicenter of the college football universe for one Saturday, and see if they could script a better 24 hours. This was the kind of victory the Badger football team needed, a program-defining, once-in-a-generation Big Ten beatdown of the best team in the country, under the lights, in their beloved home stadium, in front of a national audience in primetime.

It was a significant step forward for a program that some believed had plateaued in recent years. Sure, most college football teams would love to rack up nine- and ten-win seasons the way Wisconsin does. But a decade without that elusive Big Ten title and a few years without that breakthrough, signature victory left many wondering whether head coach Bret Bielema was the man who would take UW from "point B" to the proverbial "point C," or whether the Badgers were ever destined to reach the pantheon of college football's elite.

Consider those doubts emphatically erased. Bielema's boys put together their most dominant and complete performance in his tenure at Wisconsin, and they could not have chosen a better time to make their statement. With thousands of red-clad students, alumni and supporters basking in the perfect Madison weather and millions more watching on TV, the Badgers proved that indeed they have players and coaches capable of beating any team in the country.

It is a tremendous confidence boost for a program that had grown tired of the questions about when they would finally win a huge game in the Big Ten. Plenty of high-profile recruits got to watch Camp Randall Stadium literally rock for three hours and, after witnessing the love affair between the 81,000-plus on hand and the confident, savvy team that pulled off the incredible upset, how could they not want to be Badgers?

Players are not oblivious to the college football world that surrounds them, and Wisconsin's are no exception. The Badgers know that winning nine or ten games per season does not vault a team into the national spotlight if most of those wins come against unimpressive competition. For years, they had been on the cusp, consistently playing in bowl games, holding serve at home and building a nice resume. But there always seemed to be another team capturing the headlines.

Saturday, at long last, was Wisconsin's day.

- Jake Harris

What a game for Wisconsin Football, both for the present and the future. The touchdown drive to make it 28-18 is the kind of drive you need to win against the best teams in the country. Ohio State had scored 18 straight points and had all the momentum, and at that point the talented Ohio State defense was very rested. But Scott Tolzien, John Clay, and James White all remained composed and conducted a beautiful march down the field. Wisconsin wasn't handed a victory- the Badgers played their best game of the season and earned the win.

The atmosphere in Madison on Saturday was incredible. Just electric. And Camp Randall was rocking all night. I can't speak to how it compared to Badger night games in the past, but for me personally that was the most fun I've ever had at a Wisconsin football game. I can't begin to imagine what all of those basketball and football recruits were thinking, but I'm guessing they were impressed. I don't expect to forget Saturday's experience for a long time.

The student section did its job on Saturday. Not every student was at their seat at kickoff (including myself), but the students were likely as on-time as non-students; it's just more noticeable because of the seating process in the student sections. It was a great feeling to walk in and see the score to be Wisconsin 7, OSU 0. You can imagine my shock when my question of how we scored was answered with "Gilreath kickoff return." We cheered loudly when we were supposed to, but maybe we didn't quiet down enough for the offense on occasions. At least where I was standing, the camaraderie among the fans was impressive; I could have mistaken the 20 nearest people to me as my closest friends. And I'm glad rushing the field didn't result in any serious injuries, as that has been a concern at Camp Randall in the past. I ended up on the "W" in the end zone and congratulated Zach Brown and Shelton Johnson on the victory. I also asked two recruits if they were going to Wisconsin and they assured me yes, but looking back they might have been lying to fans to avoid any controversy.

This victory should serve as proof that Wisconsin can compete with any other program in the Big Ten Conference. It will also re-energize the fans of the program and create expectations of a Big Ten title or a BCS bowl appearance this season. Bret Bielema proved he can win against Ohio State, only one year after saying "I hate losing to those guys." This win will do wonders for the public's perception of Bielema. Wisconsin is doing things the right way and it is paying off. And this is one of those victories that will continue to pay off for Badgers in the future. A win is a win, but a win like this is why we are fans of college football.

- Adam T

 One thing I thought was crucial (or played a bigger role than usual) was the student section. People on campus put a lot of time into getting everyone to show up on time for the game, and it really seems to have worked. From my vantage point it looked like the students had filled up their allocated space by kickoff, and Gilreath's return for a touchdown kept the intensity level up where it should be for a game of that magnitude. The atmosphere was electric, and at least from my perspective in row 2 of O, the students played their biggest role during a game in the two years that I've been here.

- John Veldhuis

Happy Victory Monday to everyone!

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