Let's face it, the last two weeks have been tough ones. The Badgers lose a close game to an inferior Illinois on the road and then lay another egg with the loss at Ohio State. I totally blame myself for these losses, since they are the first two games of the season that I didn't sit and watch with my lucky shirt on. Since I was not watching, I also couldn't curl my barbells and yell at the screen to motivate the offense, do sit-ups at every time out, and push-ups when our defense needed a big goal line stand late in the game. These are rituals that have garnered wins in all of the big games the Badgers have played. If we didn't win a game, it was because I didn't do enough of the above actions in sufficient time before a play started and the team faltered because of it.
In my defense, for the Illinois game, my cousin, a prominent former football coach at DeForest HS near Madison passed and I made the pilgrimage from Sonoma, California to Wisconsin to attend the funeral and be with family. RIP Jerry Roelke. And for the OSU game, I was on the verge of being evacuated from my Sonoma County home, as the state's biggest wildfire was breathing down our proverbial necks. I think that merits a pass on the game.
Aside from that, what has gone wrong with our team? Let me say that our Badgers are much better than their record the last two weeks. I think we can all agree on that.
In the game against the Illini, one play sticks out as a shell-shocker. On the running play that brings Illinois within one score of Wisconsin in their 2nd half comeback, there is a clear holding that is missed against the fighting dirtbags, one that basically springs the TD. Pretty sure it's Sanborn getting held in the middle, him having an otherwise clear shot at Corbin to make the tackle. Had this hold been called, the TD gets called back and it's a 10 yard hole that Illinois may never climb out of on 3rd down. The Badgers get the ball up two scores and, with the confidence in their defense, they ice the game. OK< OK maybe not, but plays like these do have the ability to change game...and seasons. So let me muse some more...
Here are some pivotal plays that may have changed the outcome of the game against OSU.
("WHAT?!?" you're thinking, "We lost 38 to 7! No way did we ever have a chance!)
Well, I'm sitting here watching the Badger OSU game on DVR, let me remind you that it's halfway through the 3rd quarter and Bucky is still in this game. It was 10-7 at half and the Buckeyes score on their opening possession, so now it's 17-7. It's bad but not impossible by any stretch. Wisconsin gets the ball back on their 25 and Coan hits JT on 1st down for a 5 yard gain. On the next play, Coan hits Jake Ferguson for a 5 yard gain. It should be 1st and 10 with the Badgers gaining confidence on a drive, right? Wrong! It seems that the refs review the 1st catch and, even though JT took two full steps with the ball on his arm, they reverse the call because he fumbled it out-of-bounds! Total BS! That is a game-changing freakin' call!
Should be 17-14 OSU
OSU turns around and scores because Orr recieves a stiff-arm to the facemask while the entire OSU line holds.
Get ready for item two: With 4:26 left and the Badgers ripping apart the vaunted Buckeye defense in the rainy weather at the crap-hole that is Columbus, Ohio, on 2nd and 5 Coan keeps on a zone read, breaks left and gets targeted on a head to head collision that never gets called. DUDE. That should be a 15 yard penalty,1st down in Buckeye territory and an ejection of that OSU player! Instead, on 3rd and 3, an emboldened OSU defense...gets broken again for 4 yards and the Badgers get a 1st down. But, eventually, OSU gets a stop. Gamechanger.
Should be 24-21 OSU
OSU scores again because our defense is just done with the rain, the nasty fans and the BS calls that give the game to the bucknuts.
Then, the Badger drive down to the 21 yard line of OSU. Mind you, the Badgers have been moving the ball all day on the Buckeyes. On the previous play, Cephus makes a brilliant one hand catch for a 30+ yard gain to set up 1st and red zone to go. But Logan Bruss forgets to stand up when the snap count is called. This one is NOT on the refs. Yes, Chance whatever his name is from OSU is good. But this is not because of his skills. This one is squarely on Bruss who, despite the fact that Chace WHNI flinches early on the play, Bruss just decides to stay in his stance for an extra second and let the OSu guy go right by, hit our QB and make him fumble away any opportunity we had for self-respect on this day.
Should be 28-24 Wisconsin
The most remarkable thing is yet to come. With 11:39 left, most of the 4th quarter that is, 1st and 10 on the Badger 45 yard line, and a convenient pass interference call, the Buckeyes only score once more the rest of the game. Justin Fields limps off the field, beaten up and bruised. Dobbins gets the game ball for taking advantage of the uncalled holding and using his facemask-grabbing skills to run far, though not as far as many would have you believe.
Shame on the refs, the weather and Logan Bruss. Otherwise this game is close.
Should be 31-28 OSU
But then, I’m just a homer.