Badger Bits: We won, guys!

Montee Ball leads the Badgers onto the field to face the Northern Iowa Panthers at Camp Randall Stadium.

I missed Saturday's game flying back home for Labor Day weekend. I followed along on my phone with the help of a constant stream of text messages from friends providing context (Midway bars don't get BTN) and felt concerned but mildly at ease as I boarded the plane with the Badgers leading 13-0.

Just after the plane touched down I turned on my phone and was flooded with about a dozen text messages at once. A quick skim gave off a vague sense of doom so I checked the Gamecast in time to see Wisconsin go 3-and-out, giving Northern Iowa the ball back for a potential game-winning drive. Ethan Hemer knocked down the fourth down pass to seal the game, thankfully avoiding catastrophe.

Saturday was ugly, but it could have been worse and that is the most encouraging takeaway from the game. There is a big difference between winning and losing. It's the difference between being able to eat breakfast the next morning and staring forlorn at your cheerios getting soggy and disintegrating in tepid milk. Winning ugly is aggravating, losing is miserable.

I've moved from "optimistic" to "cautiously optimistic", and will quickly move back if the Badgers take care of Oregon State this weekend. We're 1-0, and thank goodness for that.

Links after the jump:

Chris Ash says the Badgers gave 42 minutes of great effort on defense (FYI, football games typically last 60 minutes).

Notes from the Journal Sentinel, including Wisconsin experimenting with the 3-3-5 on Saturday.

Note from the State Journal, including quotes from Kyle French.

Disappointing defense is disappointed.

Montee Ball is still shaking off the rust of an offseason without contact.

Matt Canada goes over what went right for UW on offense.

Badgers Roundtable returns to go over what went right, what went wrong and what's ahead.

The Paul Chryst era at Pitt gets off to a rocky start.

Wisconsin projected to the Capital One Bowl by ESPN's Big Ten blog.

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