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Grading Wisconsin’s loss to the juggernaut that is Ohio State football

OSU is on a different level, man.

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Rubric - Wisconsin Football Unit Grades

Grade Description - accounting for degree of difficulty
Grade Description - accounting for degree of difficulty
A Excellent: Top-5 level performance
B Very good: Top-tier Big Ten performance
C Acceptable: Average for the Big Ten
D Unacceptable: Below average for the Big Ten
F Failure: Rutgers level performance
N/A Insufficient evidence for a grade

The Ohio State Buckeyes are just better than Wisconsin. This game was supposed to be rather inconsequential, but of course we know what happened last week. Thanks to the two-game losing streak, the Wisconsin Badgers have lost control of their own destiny in the Big Ten West and are two games (edit: in the loss column) behind the Gophers.


Let’s grade Wisconsin’s effort against the best team in the country. Note, grades are based on the first three quarters of play. As I write this at the dawn of the fourth quarter, a series of miracles would only be enough to help Wisconsin cover the spread.

Offense: C+

O-line: C+


In the end, Wisconsin’s offensive line could not give anyone else a chance to do anything. Wisconsin’s recipe to beat Ohio State is fielding the best offensive line in the country, and even then it might not be enough. Chase Young is a monster, and frankly so is the rest of this OSU defense.

Wisconsin v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Sure, Jack Coan missed a few passes. Maybe, if he hits an out route to Jake Ferguson on third down in the third quarter, the drive extends. If the drive extends, maybe Wisconsin scores a touchdown. And maybe that would bring the game closer.

In the end, it doesn’t matter how good or bad the rest of the team is when the offensive line neither protects the quarterback nor

Defense: B

Pass rush: B
Pass coverage: B
Run defense: B


Wisconsin’s defense held for a while, but it could only hold so long. Wisconsin’s defense played like an upper-tier Big Ten team. Ohio State’s offense played like the best in the country. J.K. Dobbins can only be held down for so long when the defense is on the field for what felt like 75% of the game.

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Special Teams: B

Kicking: B
Punting: B
Returning: B
Coverage: B


Special teams weren’t that bad! A blocked punt gave Wisconsin a short field and its first (and probably only) touchdown. Anthony Lotti was pretty okay.

Ohio State put together a long punt return in the third quarter that launched the eventual blowout. Of course, a block in the back (or perhaps a blindside block) was missed by the refs.

Coaching: N/A

Strategy: N/A
Adjustments: N/A
Play-calling: N/A


It didn’t really matter what Paul Chryst did. He tried the wildcat for crying out loud.

Overall grade: B-

Unit Grades: B-
Big plays: C+
Game Control: N/A
Penalties & Discipline: C+


What can you say about this one? The Badgers are still a good team. Ohio State didn’t just expose Wisconsin’s weaknesses, it overpowered UW’s strengths. Nobody’s stopping Ohio State this year. No way, no how.

Bonus grades

Not losing next week: B+

Shhhh don’t tell anyone it’s a bye week.

(Author’s note: apologies to those viewing this on mobile. You may have more luck reading the table directly from the source.)

2019 Wisconsin Football Grade Book

Category Mich NW MSU @ Ill. @ OSU Iowa @ Neb Purdue @ Minn B1G Championship Rose Bowl
Category Mich NW MSU @ Ill. @ OSU Iowa @ Neb Purdue @ Minn B1G Championship Rose Bowl
Overall A- C+ A+ D- B- B- C B- A- B- C-
Unit Grade Composite A C+ A D B- B- C+ B B+ B- C+
Big Plays A- B A D C+ B- C B A C D
Game Control B D A+ F N/A C D- C A D D
Penalties & Discipline C- C+ A F C+ D C+ C- A B+ N/A
Offense A D A D+ C+ B B+ B+ A- B- C+
QB B D A D N/A C C- B- A B- C
OL A+ D+ A D- C+ B- A- B B+ B- C+
RB / FB A+ B B+ C N/A A A A B B+ B-
WR / TE B D A B N/A B+ B+ A A B C
Defense A A- A+ D- B C+ D+ C B B- B+
Pass rush A- A+ A+ D+ B C+ C+ C+ B+ B B+
Pass coverage B+ B+ A+ F B C- D+ D B- C+ A-
Run defense A+ B+ A+ F B B F B+ A+ B- B+
Special Teams C+ D B- C+ B C- B+ A+ B+ F A- & F
Kicking C- B+ B C B C- B A+ B D+ D+
Punting B C C B- B C- B- N/A C- F F
Returning C+ F B C+ B C- A N/A A D A+
Coverage C- B C C+ B N/A B N/A B+ D N/A
Coaching A C A F N/A B- C- C+ A B- N/A
Strategy A+ C A D N/A B- D+ C B+ B N/A
Adjustments B C N/A F N/A B C B A F N/A
Play Calling A C A F N/A B- C B- A+ B N/A