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Grading Wisconsin’s win over Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl

Bowl games aren’t always pretty, but wins are always fun.

SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl - Wisconsin v Arizona State Photo by David Becker/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: B-

QB: C+
O-line: B


It wasn’t always pretty, but Wisconsin got enough done on the offensive end to edge out a win. Graham Mertz, like always, showed some promise and made just enough happen in the pass game to move the chains. An early interception was negated by a touchdown to Jake Ferguson and some tough throws to Chimere Dike and Skyler Bell in the second half put the Badgers in a position to win.

Braelon Allen looked like a 17-year old who just had a month off, and he ran wild over the Sun Devils. A lot of his damage came in the first half, but Allen finished with 165 yards on the ground and helped the Badgers control the game in stages, with the help of the defense was enough.

The Badgers held the ball for the final nine minutes of the game, which was sick and one of the most Wisconsin ways to finish a win ever.

Defense: B+

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


Surprise, surprise, the Badgers defense showed up in the Las Vegas Bowl.

The Badgers pass rush got after Jaylen Daniels early and often in this one and kept the Sun Devils off balance for most of the game. Daniels was held to 159 yards passing and while he led the team in rushing. The Sun Devils struggled to block the Badgers all night, being held to a season low 219 yards.

Special Teams: A

Kicking: A
Punting: A
Returning: C
Coverage: B




Collin Larsh drilled some big kicks, the punting was impressive, and overall the unit wasn’t a liability!

Coaching: B

Strategy: B
Adjustments: B
Play-calling: B+


Wisconsin played this game fairly shorthanded both from a coaches and a players standpoint, and ultimately the Badgers had a nice, solid game plan and executed it, which is what you want with the extra bowl prep and all of that.

I don’t think there was anything mind bending in this game, but that’s alright.

Overall grade:

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


Wisconsin won their bowl game and finished the season at 9-4 after starting 1-3! Who would have thought that in September?!

This game wasn’t ideal, but the Badgers were shorthanded and won a bowl game among a ton of adversity on the coaching staff and the roster and during the football season the roster turned over with the transfer portal and all of that.

The ship was righted and is again headed in the right direction under Paul Chryst. Is everything perfect? No. Will it ever be? Only in your NCAA 14 dynasties.

But for today, the Wisconsin Badgers are Las Vegas Bowl champions. Let’s enjoy that.