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Grading Wisconsin’s uninterested performance against Indiana

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If we don’t care, why should the players?

NCAA Football: Indiana at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-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

Offense: D

QB: D
O-line: C
RB/FB: C+
WR/TE: D+

Rationale:

I was seriously considering just giving everything an “F” and leaving it at that, but I couldn’t do that to Jalen Berger. The freshman from New Jersey ran the ball 15 times for 87 yards (5.8 ypc) and looked like the only player on offense that could make something happen all game. If anything, Berger didn’t see the field enough.

Graham Mertz looked every bit a freshman quarterback against the tough Hoosiers defense, but he had a couple of nice throws, including his final pass to Chimere Dike that was incomplete. Mertz also showed some moves in running the ball, but may have gotten too far into Lamar Jackson Mode on the final drive.

The offensive line was...fine? I don’t know enough about it to confidently say one way or the other. Losing C Kayden Lyles was tough and true freshman third-string center Tanor Bortolini had some BAD shotgun snaps that basically rolled back to Mertz.

The receivers, who were missing Danny Davis III and Adam Krumholz for the whole game and Kendric Pryor for some of the game, rarely got any separation and when they did get open couldn’t do much with the ball.

A dispiriting and uninspiring performance from the offense all around tbqh.

Defense: B-

Pass rush: C
Pass coverage: C+
Run defense: B+

Rationale:

Indiana has had trouble running the ball all season and that continued against the Badgers. They rushed the ball 31 times for 92 yards (2.8 ypc) and had a long rush of 11 yards. They never threatened the Badgers on the ground.

The Badgers also looked pretty good in pass defense despite missing Rachad Wildgoose and Semar Melvin. Ty Fryfogle only had one catch, albeit for 35 yards, and Whop Philyor had only four catches for 47 yards and a score. Those are pedestrian numbers for two very good receivers. Scott Nelson looked lost in coverage all game and would have looked even worse if Miles Marshall had hung on to this pass.

The pass rush was aggressive but never got home and couldn’t force brand new starter Jack Tuttle into a mistake. In fact, he threw his first touchdown on an all-out blitz and seemed unfazed.

Special Teams: D-

Kicking: C
Punting: B-
Returning: F
Coverage: N/A

Rationale:

Collin Larsh made his two short field goals. That was good. Andy Vujnovich and Connor Schlichting landed all three of their combined punts inside the 20. Devin Chandler almost safetied himself on a kickoff return and his first return was called back due to holding. A real disaster of a game for the kick return unit.

Coaching: D

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

Rationale:

Lackluster and unimaginative play calling on offense. Chryst and Joe Rudolph might as well just let the player make up the plays on the fly because none of what they were calling was working. There was chatter on Twitter dot com that Indiana was stealing Wisconsin’s signs which is why Mertz had to run over to the sideline after every play to get the new call.

The defense was called pretty well, but the offense was embarrassing and brings the whole grade down. Why doesn’t Berger get the ball more? While Mertz hasn’t been highly accurate are there no plays to call where he can push the ball down the field? Jet sweeps???

Overall grade: D

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

Rationale:

Eight penalties for 81 yards for the Badgers today. This is easily the least disciplined team during the Paul Chryst era. The longest play of the day was for 25 yards. Big plays were nonexistent.

Whatever, this isn’t a real season anyways.