MADISON, Wis. - The memory of Saturday night's 37-31 loss to Michigan State is still fresh in the minds of Badger fans, and will probably sting for a long time, but the team itself has less time to dwell on the last-second upset. After returning home to Madison, the Badgers were back to work Saturday afternoon to prepare to play Ohio State next weekend.
"You've got 24 hours, and really at this point you've gotta start to let go of the emotional pain," co-defensive coordinator and associate head coach Charlie Partridge said Sunday. "Coaches do it faster than young guys and we understand that. We don't have time for pain anymore."
The Badgers will need to accept and move on from Saturday's loss quickly, because they face another tough road game in a venue where they've had a lot of trouble before. The Badgers have lost their last two games in Ohio Stadium, with their last win coming 2004. Partridge wants his players to leave emotion out of looking at the game film from Saturday's loss, so they can learn from their mistakes and remain focused.
"You come back today and watch the film, and you look at it with your head and not your heart and emotions," Partridge said. "We made too many mistakes and Michigan State made too many plays in critical times."
"With all that being said, it came down to the final play."
Some of those mistakes included missing tackles, and failing to get Michigan State's offense off the field by stopping them on third down. The Spartans converted on eight of 16 third downs, and went one for one on fourth down as well.
"There's any number of third downs that if we had made the tackle, we'd have been off the field," Partridge said. "One comes to mind- it was a touchdown where they threw over the middle, we had a chance to tackle him and make it fourth and seven, and force a field goal."
"We've gotta learn from it, come up with a good meeting plan for the kids tonight, and now assist them in moving on," Partridge said, "because we go to Ohio State, and you don't have to say anything more than that."
But at the end of the day, Partridge and the coaching staff learned a lot about their team on Saturday night. After a horrendous second quarter where the Badgers gave up 23 unanswered points, the team responded in the second half and kept the Spartans off the board in the third quarter, as kept the Badgers in the game as well.
"The biggest thing [to take away] was something that we knew - that we have great kids that will fight to the end," Partridge said. "It was 31-17 in the fourth quarter, and our kids never, ever gave up. They were great on the sidelines, they were behind each other. If one guy had a down look before I had to say anything another player was on him. So that's a solid foundation to build on."
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