The Wisconsin Badgers comfortably defeated the Georgia Southern Eagles in Week 3, cruising to a 35-14 victory with 28 unanswered second-half points after trailing 14-7 in the third quarter.
In the effort, the Badgers forced six turnovers, while running back Braelon Allen sparked the comeback with a 32-yard run, which was the first major carry of the game for Wisconsin, leading to the first of many touchdown drives in the second half.
However, the Badgers struggled once again in the first half, scoring just seven points against Georgia Southern, despite forcing three interceptions, while Braelon Allen was mysteriously left out of the gameplan early, earning zero first-quarter carries, with his lone touch coming on a short pass to the flat from quarterback Tanner Mordecai.
What was the reason for Braelon Allen’s lack of early touches in Week 3?
“Yeah, [involving Braelon Allen early] was part of the game plan. It just didn’t — sometimes you’ve got to adapt and adjust. In the first half, we couldn’t and didn’t, for whatever reason,” Fickell said. “We’ll go and take a good hard look at it and see why.”
Fickell acknowledged that his running back was a little banged up during the week, but still anticipated some early volume towards his star, which didn't occur.
Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, running back Braelon Allen opened up about the change in carries compared to last season and how he’s adapted to the new situation.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say I’ve struggled with [the lesser amount of carries],” Allen said when asked. “Definitely been a different feel. I’ve always felt as the game went on, the more carries I got, I was able to get into a rhythm.”
“So, I think now, it’s just you got to find a way to try to get into that rhythm faster on less touches. I’ve been trying to work on [that] and definitely getting used to it.”
Has there been a change in the way Allen approaches the game with the difference in volume?
“Yeah, I think I have to honestly [change my approach],” Allen said. “Like you said, maybe get one carry here and there, [so] try to make it as punishing as I can. Trying to make it feel the same as having five or six carries in a drive is the best way to energize myself.”
When I asked Allen about the game plan from Saturday and why he didn't see any first-quarter touches, the running back didn't have an answer for the reasoning behind the decision.
“I don’t know. I don’t really got the answer to that,” Allen said.
Now, the Badgers have two different running backs, and fellow back Chez Mellusi’s style may be a better fit for Phil Longo’s spread scheme, but Wisconsin wasn't able to get much going on the ground, or really at all, in the first half.
Will we see a change in game plan as Big Ten play, where games seem to become more physical, starts against Purdue?