We might not know how to celebrate a good win. The Badgers covered. There was no panic, and the Badgers currently are the best statistical rush offense (of those who didn't drop down a level). They did well.
Tennessee Tech did well, too. They're coming off of a 63-7 win against Cumberland. They ran them over. But here's the thing. Ladarius Vanlier is going from running over an NAIA school most famous for being the 0 in that 222 to 0 loss, to the Badgers.
So long story short? The Badgers should be comfortable in victory again.
But how comfortable will we be? It will be at a higher level if...
1. The defense "vanillas" Darian Stone into a long day
Unless there's something that's gone wrong, you're not going to see close to everything from Dave Aranada's scheme again. The defense went up against a patchwork offensive line and didn't come away with a sack last week. This week, they're going to see a rotation of talents at the skill positions. But left tackle Matt Smith's and left guard Randall Reeves's second career start comes this Saturday. There could very well be a disruption problem the Golden Eagles have to solve. Stone may continue his scoring streak, but if he has a 17-carry, 21-yard sort of day? The Bandwagon rolls on.
2. There's a more consistent Joel Stave
Damario Donnell and James Huguely are inexperienced, combining for an 11 career starts between them. There's going to be yet another opportunity for Jared Abbrederis to find his way behind the cornerbacks for a big gain. The experienced safeties in the Golden Eagles' 3-3-5 defense are likely going to have to commit to helping stop the Cerberus of the running game and you can could the combined sacks of the two players who are the active leaders of Tennessee Tech on one hand. This game has a real chance for the second-half Joel Stave to build on his performance.
3. Corey Clement builds on his debut
Tennessee Tech's got an undersized and inexperienced front six. They are going to need some help from Austin Tallant and Marty Jones on the running downs to make plays. Tallant's got an ability to fill and be around the ball. But the offensive line had very few problems road grading in week one. Corey Clement was the third freshman this century to start his career with 100-plus yards rushing. Both Anthony Davis andgot a second straight 100-plus game. If Clement does? This bodes well.
4. Kyle French kicks a field goal
And doesn't miss an attempt. He's on four straight games where when he's attempted a field goal, he's missed a field goal. It's angina Badger fans do not need.
Also, no return for a touchdown, please.
5. Don't. Extend. Drives.
Fun fact. UMass actually netted more first downs on Saturday (13) than Alabama (11). Neither one of their offenses is going to net a grape job sticker. But the Badgers' defense gave them a lot of help. Three of the Minutemen first downs were via penalty. Now I know what you're thinking, but the old coach did have one strength in that bend-but-don't-break defensive setup, and it's something that Gary Andersen's teams never had.
|Season||Wisconsin penalties resulting in a first down||Utah State penalties resulting in a first down|
Now, I grant you, I don't think Gary Andersen's going to have a defense that will threaten to have 40 drive-extending mistakes on the season. But if you can't play perfectly when the stakes are low and the points don't matter? There's a definite concern for when the season really starts.
And when you have a team whose strength is in the fact it can rotate dudes in and out and keep skill players fresh? Suddenly, a game that should well be something at the very least similar to the game against UMass has a weird "21" on the opponent's side of the scoreboard.
And then we go to Tempe. And then we're worried.
More from Bucky's 5th Quarter:
- Wisconsin running backs hope to shine all season
- KKSE Episode 9: Wisconsin Week 1 recap
- Closing the Book: Why Wisconsin shouldn't be satisfied with Week 1
- Sports Takes With Rosin: The Co-opting of LeBron James
- Wisconsin offense review: Badgers cruise past UMass in opener
- Wisconsin defense review: Badgers dominate Minutemen