Play of the Game: Leo Musso’s touchdown-saving interception
The redshirt senior not only gave a speech that could go on to live in Badgers lore for years to come—Axe in hand and all—but his end-zone pick in the third quarter thwarted a prime scoring opportunity for Minnesota after Wisconsin trimmed its deficit to a touchdown.
Before that play, Minnesota drove the ball 61 yards, with huge completions by quarterback Mitch Leidner of 22 and 25 yards. If the Gophers score on this drive, it changes the complexion of the game, and we may be talking about the most disappointing game in years.
Musso may in fact be the team MVP this season, as he’s solidified the safety positions with redshirt sophomore D’Cota Dixon and has made huge plays all year. His five interceptions lead the team and place him in a tie for second in the conference—and who can forget his 66-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown vs. Michigan State? Many wondered how he would step up this season in place of Tanner McEvoy, but he’s flourished in the defensive backfield.
Wisconsin’s 21 interceptions actually lead the FBS, with Musso (five), Dixon and Shelton (four each) and cornerback Derrick Tindal (three) spearheading the Badgers’ ball-hawking attack.
Honorable mention: Sojourn Shelton’s first interception, Jazz Peavy’s 71-yard jet sweep to set up the go-ahead touchdown, the Badgers chopping down the goal post
Sojourn Shelton: The senior cornerback’s two interceptions nullified any momentum Minnesota tried to generate. His first pick and 40-yard return set up Wisconsin’s game-tying touchdown. Later in the game, his athletic play to produce another takeaway turned the Gophers away once again. After recording only one interception combined in his sophomore and junior seasons, the Florida native finished the regular season with four.
Jazz Peavy: He dropped what could have been a critical third-down conversion, but Peavy again led the team in receptions (four) and sprinted down the field for a 71-yard gain off of a jet sweep to set up the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter. The Kenosha, Wis., native’s versatility in this offense has produced some explosive plays. He’s only a redshirt junior as well.
T.J. Edwards: An injury on Minnesota’s first offensive play of the game didn’t slow the redshirt sophomore for long, as he returned and tallied 11 tackles, two for loss. He led the team in tackles last year with 84, and is currently leading the defense in that category as well in 2016 (75). He’s also second on the team in tackles for loss (8.5)
What to watch for this week
- College Football Playoff rankings. Michigan lost, but Washington and Clemson both won. Will Wisconsin and Penn State stay Nos. 6 and 7 in the standings, or will there be any shake-up? With how this past weekend shaped out, there’s an uneasiness floating around with the scenario of the Badgers capturing the Big Ten title but getting left out of the picture. Ohio State appears to be anchored in as one of the four alongside Alabama. Will chaos reign next weekend?
- Conference championship games, plus Oklahoma State-Oklahoma. Yeah, Bama’s locked the SEC up, but Washington-Colorado on Friday, Clemson-Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State-Oklahoma are all must-watch games.
- Another Walk-On This Way book signing... in Milwaukee. It’s Joel Nellis and I’s first book signing in Milwaukee at the Name of the Game inside Mayfair Mall from 6-8 p.m. CT. We’re hoping for a couple of former walk-ons to be joining us, but hoping to announce that in the next two days.
Would love to see any B5Q readers down there to say hi. Books will be available for sale for $24.95 (though a friendly conversation without buying a copy is perfectly fine). For me, this may be more of a personal and emotional homecoming. I was born and raised on the south side of Milwaukee for most of my life before coming to Madison for college. Look for us to be on TV and possibly radio later this week.