What started off as a scary season for Badger fans seems to be turning around. Hopefully by the end of this month, we’ll be truly thankful for the changes that have occurred within the team’s leadership. After a week off for the Badgers, it’s time to get back to work. A little time to unplug, recharge, and refocus could have been exactly what the doctor ordered for a successful second half of the season. Now, let’s see what the keys to victory will be for when theMaryland Terrapins come to town.
Need consistency from Mertz
I know it’s possible for Mertz to deliver the goods. Yes, for a Wisconsin quarterback he’s been more than adequate. He’s great! But even Mertz will tell you he had higher expectations for himself and the team than what’s been delivered. The four-star QB who turned down offers from Georgia, Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Michigan, Oregon, ect...You get the idea. Can the real Graham Mertz stand up? We saw him throw for five touchdowns along with almost 300 yards against Northwestern with a QBR near 90. Then, the next game against Michigan State put up a mid-level performance with barely half the yards and a QBR well below the previous week at just above 37. The week after he slung it around against Purdue.
It’s been difficult for Mertz though to have three different play-callers over three different years but if we can just get some consistency in execution then this team won’t just compete for the Big Ten West Title but they also could be competing for the coming seasons' top wideout transfers looking for a solid landing spot. I love his work ethic though and even in the games where he hasn’t performed his best he’s been able to keep his confidence high in himself and this team. You can see it in the way he carries himself post-game.
The offensive line needs to play clean and together
Cut the crap...That’s about it! The Badgers rank just outside the top 100 in penalties per game and penalty yardage at #116 with 7.2 penalties and 68.88 averaged per game, with 551 total yards so far 2022. The majority of these problems come from the offensive line. Let’s have a clean game boys. Limit mistakes and you increase our chance for success.
The defense needs to be sharp as ever
The Badger's defense caused a lot of chaos for a Boilermakers team that was looking to compete for a Big Ten West crown. Three picks including a pick-six! The defense will have to keep up that big-pick energy that they’ve delivered all season long against this Maryland team.
Marylands’ quarterback Tualia Tagovailoa is coming off an injury so it’s important the Badgers knock off any sense of confidence that the offense might try to create for him early in the game. Even though he’s only started in seven of their eight games the Hawaiian native has amassed over 2,001 yards on the season. He’s got a plethora of options to pitch the ball to. He really likes to spread it around. The Badgers will have to play a complete game as far as coverage in the secondary goes if they expect to hold off for what could be Leonards's next win.