The 51-17 final score felt pretty satisfying. The Badgers ran up 499 yards of total offense the same way they did last season, employing their run-run-screen-run-run-play action gameplan with the same well-oiled execution you have come to know and love. The defense allowed just three points in the first half which was a good thing. Except that they gave up long sustained drives and large chunks on the ground in the process, which was bad. But that was to be expected because they had no idea what the hell UNLV was running, and it's the first game, and so on, etc.
Really we haven't learned a whole lot about the Badgers. You knew the offense was going to be good. The front seven had to answer some serious questions and took the mulligan instead. Enter: Oregon State.
Okay, so the Beavers up and lost to an FCS school, dropping the asking price on Monroe Street about 30 dollars. That was unfortunate. Still, don't expect them to roll over. A couple of things make this game intriguing:
1) They have a history of doing this. Whatever the reason, Oregon State has been a rather slow starter in recent years. In 2004 a 1-4 start gave way to a 6-1 finish. The next three seasons the team suffered blowout losses to Boise State, Cincinnati and Penn State in non-conference play and went on to finish several games above .500.
2) Wisconsin knows their offense. As John pointed out yesterday, the Beavers run essentially the same offensive scheme as the Badgers. Outside of any gameday trickery, the front seven should know what to expect and will be tasked with flat-out beating the guys in front of them. If they still look like they did against UNLV, it could mean trouble down the road, if not for the game.
Wisconsin is a 21-point favorite for good reason. Teams that lose to Sacramento State cannot be considered "good" until they prove otherwise. But there is plenty to test the Badgers here, especially for a defense that will truly have to dominate for this game to be considered a win, whatever the final score may be.
Jeff Potrykus gives his scouting report on the Beavers. One of the few shining lights in Oregon State's loss was the play of freshman Malcom Agnew at running back, who racked up 233 yards and three touchdowns last week. Unfortunately for the Beavers...
Agnew is doubtful for Saturday's game with a hamstring injury. The next two leading rushers in the game were both Beavers' quarterbacks, combining for 35 yards. Needless to say, Wisconsin's task defensively just got much easier.
It is never a good sign when your local columnist uses the word "Doom" in a headline. The dreaded quarterback platoon appears to have spread to Corvallis from College Station and Tuscaloosa. The Beavers are dealing with some seriously shaken confidences at the moment.
In case you didn't notice, play action was very effective against UNLV.
Tom Oates and Tom Mulhern wrap up UNLV, preview Oregon State in this week's Badger Beat.