Thursday night's win confirmed what we all hoped the offense could be. James White and Montee Ball looked great in open space, gashing UNLV behind a massive push from the offensive line. Russell Wilson was accurate and, most surprising to me at least, really quick. I knew he was an athlete, but seeing him swivel his hips and change trajectories while losing little-to-no speed on a 46-yard TD scamper was...wow. I wasn't prepared for that.
For some, the defense killed the fluffy buzz that the rest of us were feeling. The unit was hardly awful, they just weren't dominant against a first-year starting quarterback and what should have been an out-classed offensive line. As Ricardo Efendi over at Off Tackle Empire points out, however, the Badgers were about as vanilla as vanilla gets. When the pressure was picked up to normal semi-threatening levels, Wisconsin looked much more competent. As Adam reported earlier, co-defensive coordinators Chris Ash and Charlie Partridge had prepared for an entirely different offensive scheme than the Pistol look that the Rebels employed. Which I suppose is a perfectly reasonable thing to have happen an opener, but admitting that your squad was unprepared in your coaching debut has to sting.
In any case, the Badgers are 1-0 and Plan A, win every game on the schedule, is still intact. Check back next week when the defense will have hopefully done at least a comparable job to the FCS team that took down Oregon State last week.
Left guard Travis Frederick was the only major injury casualty from Thursday's game. He is currently waiting X-ray results on a tweaked knee.
The Journal Sentinel provides all sorts of gameday statistical minutae.
Thursday's game scored the Badgers major style points according to Tom Oates. I'm also starting to notice that with every mention of Montee Ball, sportscasters and commentators have to reflexively tack on some form of "oh by the way he lost 25 pounds" afterwards. Pray it doesn't approach Brian Btuch, "oh by the way his nickname is the Polar Bear isn't that funny!?", levels.
I'm a little relieved that Kevin Zeitler has anger issues. Even more so, though, I'm terrified.
REPORT CARDS. They're back. Here are Tom Oates and Jeff Potrykus.
No, it is not okay to stop drooling over Russell Wilson yet.
Bret Bielema discusses putting key players on the return unit. Surprisingly, Kenzel Doe didn't enter the equation until garbage time on Thursday.
Andy Baggot really reaches for this bit of trivia.
Here is an incredibly in-depth breakdown of the Beavers' overtime loss to Sycamore State last Saturday. Highlights: eight true freshman played for the Beavers, running back Malcolm Agnew is good, quarterbacks Ryan Katz and Sean Manion not so much.
Winding up: The new 600-pound bronze badger outside of Camp Randall is pants-poopingly scary.