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Grading Wisconsin’s win over South Florida

Bucky should keep on scheduling teams from Florida.

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at South Florida Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to B5Q’s revamped unit grades! As a former high school math teacher, I take my grading practices very seriously. Please review the rubric to understand the grades. All grades are final.

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

Well, that was easy.

The Badgers took on a South Florida team that, reportedly, has a lot of talent, but Wisconsin ended up taking all the points en route to a 49-0 over the South Florida Bulls in Raymond James Stadium Friday night. Let’s take this impressive performance and put it up against our rubric.

The only Badgers fans sad about this one are those who picked the over.

Offense: B+

QB: B-
O-line: B+


Jonathan Taylor reaffirmed why he is the most spectacular running backs in the country. He barely needed more than one half of play to rush for 135 yards and two touchdowns, and he also caught two touchdown passes for a grand total of 183 all-purpose yards. Nakia Watson also made a nice debut with 83 yards and a touchdown.

Jack Coan was fine, but he twice overthrew a wide-open Quintez Cephus early in the game. I was going to mark QB’s a C+, but Chase Wolf set a sick block on Bradrick Shaw’s touchdown run in the 4th quarter.

The offensive line was pretty good and generally had its way with the USF defensive line. It did give up some pressure here and there. The WRs and TEs played well, but Jake Ferguson had a few drops and a fumble which hurt his unit’s grade.

Defense: A-

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


It’s really hard to make sense of this one since USF looked so bad. However, Wisconsin’s defense made a huge statement, and any team in the country would be jealous of how dominant Jim Leonhard’s squad was.

The pass rush was fierce; the run defense was suffocating. Apart from a few gaffes early (that USF failed to punish because of dropped passes), the pass coverage was good.

Don’t forget the big plays including four sacks, two interceptions, and a Matt Henningsen fumble recovery for a touchdown.

Special Teams: C+

Kicking: D+
Punting: C
Returning: B
Coverage: A-


Collin Larsh’s missed 30 yard field goal really hurts the unit’s grade here. Zack Hintze had a good day kicking off, but I just don’t value that enough to offset Larsh’s miss.

The coverage was really good, and the Badgers forced a couple of fumbles on special teams. It also stuffed a fake punt attempt to keep the route going.

Jack Dunn had a nice punt return! Anthony Lotti was fine.

Coaching: B

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


Paul Chryst clearly has more weapons this season, and he found some creative ways to get Taylor and Cephus the ball in space. The chasm in coaching ability between Charlie Strong and Chryst is significant.

Chryst was pretty creative with play action, and it would have payed off more if Coan had not overthrown Cephus early. Chryst implemented a nice mix of screen and misdirection.

Leonhard put together a great plan to stop USF, and his unit has really developed from last season.

Overall grade A-

Unit Grades: B+
Big plays: B+
Game Control: A+
Penalties & Discipline: B+


The Badgers made big plays on offense and defense, dominated from beginning to end, and kept mistakes to a minimum. This is the type of performance many Badgers fans expected in 2018.

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