So yeah. That happened.
16 points. That's the difference between one of the greatest seasons in Badger history, and this. I'm not here to complain. Because let's be honest? You remember when I fired off the salvo about Ohio State. One of my main points was how they had a tendency to play down to its competition.
It was kind of hard to play down a level when the Badgers defense surpassed even my expectations, and I was one of the more exuberant believers in a Badger victory. I mean, you hold Braxton Miller to 145 yards of total offense and just over 2 yards per carry? You did something great.
But what exactly did go wrong? We'll start with the obvious answer. (At least to me anyway).
1) Rob Havenstein
Turns out, Ohio State was lucky. When Rob Havenstein went down in the second quarter, the offense bogged down yet again, because our offensive line is so thin. I mean, when Havenstein went down, the Badgers were getting 5.64 yards per play. After that? It was 3.66 yards.
2) Special Teams
I can understand the possibility that they slept on Corey Brown. Sure he broke one against Nebraska, but he only returned 11 punts for 121 yards going into the game? You take away the broken score, he's averaging 4.5 yards per punt return going in. I'm not saying I like it. Not at all.
But overconfidence happens to the best of us.
I'm also not going to throw too much dirt at Bielema for the punt on 4th and 12 from the Buckeye 30. Yeah, it's statistically flawed logic. And a ten yard advantage? Especially considering the early tone of the game? Seemed like it could have been worth it over a missed field goal. And it seems as if Urban was more than willing to play along in a field position game.
Then Kyle French went and proved him right that bad Kyle French was back. Give him a little more than a five yard spot from where that would have been? And it got ugly. Nothing frustrates a fan more than a wonky place kicking game.
And I'm sure a lot of fans are getting annoyed by how much time that French seems to need to figure things out. And perhaps he needs to get away. Perhaps he needs to talk about it. Maybe he'll feel a lot better. And he'll be protected from the enemy.
3) If the fans could see it, why couldn't Matt Canada?
In one of my less troll-based exchanges with a Buckeye fan, he made mention of how the Badgers usual tendency to play between the tackles in the running game and it played into the Buckeyes hands. I responded with how the Badgers were using jet sweep motion to open up the middle and attack the perimeter.
It worked. The jet sweeps got first downs. Then Havenstein went down, and a wendigo broke loose. And the jet sweep stopped being a threat.
I mean, obviously there's a reason that Matt Canada got the job and why I'm just a poor boy praying for the day when twitter followers can be used to negotiate a salary. But the fact of the matter? You have watch tendencies and remember what works. And it seems like Canada forgot.
If you could see me right now, I'm sitting in the dark. I'm shaking my head.
And I'm neglecting to mention the fact that Goethe was credited in saying that boldness as genius magic and power to it. And after the miracle in the final seconds to tie (ESPECIALLY AFTER THE WORST TIME TO RUN A DRAW PLAY IN THE HISTORY OF EVER) no one would have blamed the Badgers for losing 14-13 because they went for two.
But you know what? Rob Havenstein's first on the depth chart. We may not be getting the trophy, but we're still going to Indianapolis. And Ohio State may run the table, but because they had to give Luke Fickell the Gator Bowl, they're only gonna get the trophy. By entropy, this has become a rivalry.
And in 2014? BOWL GAMES FOREVER YOU GUYS!