This was a fun weekend for college football, but we’ll see how it affects the Wisconsin Badgers on Tuesday.
After Wisconsin—No. 4 in the AP Top 25 and Amway Coaches Poll but No. 9 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings—defeated Indiana 45–17, the 2:30 p.m. CT games provided a lot of intrigue. That’s especially true if you’ve started #ScoreboardWatching for the CFP.
Iowa absolutely trounced No. 6 (CFP) Ohio State in Iowa City with a 55–24 win, giving Wisconsin **cue dramatic music** a potential signature opponent on its schedule next week before the Badgers’ Nov. 18 match-up against Michigan.
No. 7 Penn State fell to Michigan State 27–24 after a long weather delay. Oh yeah, the Spartans lost in overtime to Northwestern last week (with the Wildcats also beating Nebraska on Saturday, also in overtime).
The winner of the Michigan State vs. Ohio State game in Columbus next weekend could very well determine the East division. Wisconsin has to pass both the Nittany Lions and the Buckeyes.
No. 4 Clemson survived Dave Doeren’s N.C. State squad on the road in a 38–31 win. The Tigers only face the likes of a disappointing Florida State, the Citadel, and South Carolina (6–3, 4–3 SEC) to end their regular season.
No. 5 Oklahoma outgunned No. 11 Oklahoma State in a 62–52 win where the two rivals gained a combined 1,446 yards, and they still have to face No. 8 TCU next week and West Virginia in the regular season.
The Horned Frogs, for that matter defeated Texas 2–-7. There’s also No. 10 Miami, who defeated No. 13 Virginia Tech at home and who’s worth watching when the rankings come in early this week. The Hurricanes and No. 3 Notre Dame face off next week.
Long story short, there’s a whole lot of football left, and we’ll see where the committee places UW come Tuesday night.
The Badgers, unphased as usual by where they’ll be ranked, will look ahead only to the next week starting on Sunday. Staring them in the face is a confident Iowa squad in a rivalry game. The Badgers can’t talk about the CFP if they have a loss on their résumé.
The junior fullback stepped in admirably with no drop-off for starter Austin Ramesh, scoring three touchdowns (one receiving, two rushing). Three of Ingold’s nine career receptions have gone for six points. He has 14 touchdowns (11 rushing, three receiving) in his two-plus seasons in Madison.
Seriously, the former regime was going to let him play at Northern Illinois.
The true freshman sparked the Wisconsin rushing attack, gaining 183 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries with big runs of 45 and 32 yards. Taylor leads the Big Ten in rushing touchdowns (12) and now has five runs of 40-plus yards.
The Brookfield, Wis., native deserves this just for his sack celebration.
James has provided the pressure from the defensive line that this unit as a whole has needed. He recorded 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss against Indiana and is now second on the team in sacks (5.5) and tied for third in tackles for loss (seven).
Replacing strong safety D’Cota Dixon, Ferguson made a huge impact with two interceptions and a fumble recovery. All of those contributions with UW’s three turnovers turned into points. He now leads the team in interceptions (four) and has shown the play-making ability many in the media saw during spring and fall camp practices.
Ferguson has been a part of six of UW’s 19 takeaways (four interceptions, two fumble recoveries) during the 2017 season.
Honorable mention: Tyler Johnson (second straight week with a forced fumble)
Play of the game
Let’s go with the forced fumble by Johnson that allowed Wisconsin to take the lead that next possession. The reversal of the initial call that Morgan Ellison was down gave the Badgers the ball in prime real estate to score.
Two plays later, quarterback Alex Hornibrook found wide receiver Quintez Cephus for an eight-yard touchdown pass to push Wisconsin to a 14–10 lead.
On the injury front
It will bear watching who (and for how long) is on Monday’s preliminary injury report.
Both inside linebacker Chris Orr and Cephus went down with injuries during the game and did not return. Both positions are reduced in depth, and the way both went down did not look pretty.
Cephus’s reactions on the sideline were particularly heartbreaking, with teammates consoling him as he appeared to be in tears.
Dixon exited the game with a right leg injury. Wisconsin with a healthy Dixon makes its defense much more potent, but Ferguson has stepped up huge this season.
- Wisconsin won its 10th straight game dating back to its Cotton Bowl win. This is the third-best winning streak in school history.
- Paul Chryst won his 30th game as Wisconsin head coach on Saturday. UW is 30–6 in Chryst’s three seasons. He becomes the third Big Ten coach since 1996 to win 30-plus games in his first three seasons at a Big Ten program, joining Urban Meyer and Jim Tressel.
- The Badgers have won 10 straight games over the Hoosiers since 2005.
- Hornibrook already has 16 wins as a starting quarterback, which puts him at No. 7 all-time in UW history.
- If outside linebacker Leon Jacobs plays next week, he will become the sole leader in school history in career games played (55). He tied the school record in Saturday’s win.
- Outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel has quietly put together a solid redshirt junior season, recording another sack against Indiana. That’s now five sacks through nine games.
- Cornerback Nick Nelson registered four more pass break-ups against the Hoosiers. That’s eight in the past two games, and his 18 for the season ties Scott Starks’s 2003 mark for second-most in a single season in UW history.