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Grading No. 10 Wisconsin falling to No. 19 Northwestern

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Look all I’m saying is if I had the choice of dying or playing at Northwestern ever again,,,, I’ll take one for the team.

Wisconsin v Northwestern Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

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

Offense: D

QB: C-
O-line: B-
RB/FB: B
WR/TE: C-

Rationale:

I don’t think any of the groups themselves were as bad as the unit was as a whole on Saturday. Graham Mertz is still only playing his third game and did some nice things. The backs ran hard and did what they could. Truthfully, this offense found out exactly how little depth they functionally have at wide receiver. The offensive line played okay, they weren’t great but weren’t a liability.

Defense: A-

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

Rationale:

The defense was put in poor positions constantly and only allowed three points in the second half. They were an absolute brick wall against the run all day, and were good in coverage for the most part, however were victimized by some questionable pass interference penalties.

Special Teams: B+

Kicking: N/A
Punting: A+++++++
Returning: C+
Coverage: B+

Rationale:

The Badgers didn’t attempt a field goal and only kicked one extra point, so not much here. Andy Vujnovich punted his ass off, and he did it a lot. Nothing to write home about in the return game, other than Dean Engram muffed a punt late that was fairly inconsequential.

Coaching: C

Strategy: C
Adjustments: C
Play-calling: C-

Rationale:

So this is probably a bit of a cop out, but I don’t find a ton of fault in the coaching staff. The offense was obviously hamstrung without their leading receivers, and Mertz is still only playing in his third game against a very good defense that made Wisconsin one dimensional from the beginning of the game. The game plan was excruciatingly conservative most of the game, but without the weapons in the passing game, it’s tough to blame them, as they’re not going to put their players in positions they will struggle to succeed in.

Overall grade: C-

Unit Grades: C
Big plays: D
Game Control: D
Penalties & Discipline: B

Rationale:

Wisconsin had a big play in the first quarter, a bomb to Chimere Dike on a play action pass to register Wisconsin’s only score. They were suffocated for a lot of the game by a very talented Northwestern defense. No one really controlled this game, with the amount of punting that was exchanged in this one. The penalties looked worse than they should have, but most of them shouldn’t have been penalties, so /shrugs

Bonus grades!

Referees knowing pass interference rules: F--

IT. IS. FUCKING. EMBARRASSING.