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Wisconsin football: WELP roundtable

What else is there to say about losing to Illinois? Actually, we’ve got quite a lot!

@B5QPhotos; Matt Fleming

The Badgers lost to Illinois on Saturday. We get to grieve for the rest of Sunday but then it is time to move on. Luckily the schedule gets ::double checks schedule:: WAY more difficult next week. Nevertheless, this is the last day of shouting about Paul Chryst getting pantsed on national TV by Lovie Smith.

We here at Bucky’s 5th Quarter have been attempting to type through our feelings and this roundtable is the result. Rock, Belz, Tyler and Ryan will take it from here!

What the hell? Like...seriously? What even was that?

Ryan: Roses are black, Violets are black, McCourt’s kick is up and it’s good, Illinois 24, Wisconsin 23, Everything is black.

I honestly don’t know. I thought this week, there is no way this is a “trap game,” how could Wisconsin lose to Illinois? There is no way they would overlook the Illini before Ohio State… and then they did.

Rock: That’s the result of a very good team not trying to be a great team, running into an opponent that could generate big plays. (Case in point - Coan had 15 more completions than Peters, but they finished with 8.3 YPA. ) Wisconsin attempted four field goals, and fumbled on the Illinois 25, instead of getting touchdowns. The Badgers defense got as many 2-yards or less stops as they let up big chunk plays. Wisconsin can be successful without the big plays, but they can’t have the dropped passes, and absolutely can not turn the ball over.

Tyler: It was so gross. Just so so gross. I don’t even know what to say. That loss made me reconsider liking sports.

Belz: I thought Wisconsin may come out flat to start. I figured the Badgers would be able to rebound though and slowly take control of the game to win. That never materialized. Wisconsin laid an egg across the board in this game.

Who do you blame for the loss? Paul Chryst? The defense? Jonathan Taylor? WHO?!?

Ryan: Equal parts Jack Coan and Jonathan Taylor turnovers and a sprinkle of Paul Chryst’s play-calling. What does this concoction produce? Humble Pie.

Rock: The defense. They looked great at times, but their mistakes led to 30+ yard gains, which Wisconsin has not done often this season. Sacks are great, but only if they bring out the punter afterwards. The Illini getting big plays should make the Buckeyes happy. Why would we make them happy.

Tyler: I thought the play calling on offense was hot garbage. So I’d go with a little Chryst and Rudolph on that. The turnovers were bad though, just cant have them in those situations. Without those they probably win that football game and this is a different conversation. Defense didn’t look great either though, everyone gets some blame.

Belz: It was a team effort. The final four offensive drives were the big difference in my eyes though. Here is the drive summaries:

  • Missed field goal
  • Made field goal from the one yard line
  • Fumble
  • Interception

In a game where the Badgers consistently let Illinois hang around, the final quarter was the cherry on top of a nasty sundae.

Who gets your game balls this weekend? Keep in mind, this doesn’t have to be a Wisconsin player.

Ryan: Chris Orr. Three sacks, nine tackles, a huge stop on fourth down. He balled out.

Rock: Jake Ferguson played out of his mind. He made big catches in traffic for first downs. Looking back, he was the only one doing positive things every time he was called on

On the other side, Reggie Corbin terrified me every time he had the ball.

Tyler: Chris Orr was awesome. Reggie Corbin is way better than even I thought and I always thought he was underrated in this league. He’ll be playing on Sundays.

Belz: Lovie Smith? He had his team fired up and well prepared. For the Badgers Orr and Ferguson each played well in a losing effort.

Did Chryst play it too close to the vest? I get not showing a lot before a big game is good, but you should also win the game beforehand, right?

Ryan: He did play it too close. Wisconsin needed to do so much more. If anything, he has Ohio State licking their chops right now.

Rock: This didn’t feel like we were out-schemed, just out-executed. Finish drives in the end zone, catch the ball when you’re open, wrap up your tackles, etc.

Tyler: Going into the game I thought they would try to win the game with their basic playbook and it looked to be working but eventually you have to, ya know, win the game. I thought the play calling was very very bad and I am the biggest Paul Chryst stan out there. They played to not lose and, well, they lost.

Belz: Wisconsin didn’t do enough to win the game. That is not only related to the game plan but also the execution. The offense shelled up on multiple occasions, and couldn’t score touchdowns when it needed to. Outside of the one jet sweep, the Badgers did not stretch Illinois sideline to sideline nearly enough, especially considering the offensive line was struggling.

What do the Badgers need to do to even have a chance against Ohio State next weekend?

Ryan: Play on offense like they have EVERY other game (with the exception of the Northwestern game) and prevent the quick hitters for Ohio State. That is where Ohio State has burned us in the past, long scores, and that is where Illinois beat us today.

Rock: The back seven is going to have to get on the same page. The Buckeyes passing would shred the defense Wisconsin put out there against Illinois enough to make any offensive improvement irrelevant.

But if this was just a fluke, the offense will have to open up the interior run game earlier to have success. The fly sweep is great, but even a toss would make their linebackers lives a little tougher while giving Taylor time to see blocks develop.

Tyler: To win this game the Badgers need to sustain and control the tempo like they never have before. Keep Justin Fields off the field (haha) and the defense needs to be a lot better in all phases. If Brandon Peters and Reggie Corbin beat you on the read option than Ohio State is going to be a big challenge. They’ll probably go and win just to pull us all back in and then break our hearts again.

Belz: The offensive line needs to be better. The running game needs to be crisper, and a lot of that is related to the play of the guys up front. On the defensive side of the ball, Wisconsin needs to wrap up and make tackles. Illinois was able to get chunk plays too often because of missed tackles, something that Ohio State is even more skilled at.

Can Cole Caufield play quarterback?

Ryan: NO! Keep our precious Cole on the ice. #HobeyBakerSZN

Rock: Not for the Badgers. No Wisconsin QB is known for scoring.

Tyler: Maybe! Brad Davison was a high school quarterback, people forget that.

Belz: Could Caufield even see over the Wisconsin offensive line? He should stick to the ice and scoring goals, he seems to be good at that.