The first half was the true killer for the Badgers, as they couldn’t function at all defensively, giving up four scores on Northwestern’s four drives of the half, while the offense generated only three points, despite getting into Wildcats territory three times.
That lead to a 24-3 halftime deficit for the Badgers, one far too big for them to crawl out of in the 24-10 loss.
Speaking to reporters after the game, a disappointed Luke Fickell called the loss embarrassing, taking accountability for not having his players ready.
“That [loss was] embarrassing, and I take the blame of it and not having guys ready, and not at any phase of the game,” Fickell said. “It’s not a whole that can be said, or I can say. I’ll answer questions. But it’s very difficult trying to figure out where we are and what we need to do to continue to move forward, but we’re going to have to do that.”
Ten games into the season, Fickell and the Badgers are still trying to figure out how to take their efforts on the practice field to gamedays, as the head coach noted that last Sunday’s practice was arguably their best weekend practice of the season.
“We all know losing stinks. I think the best thing for us was, at least for me, was Sunday,” Fickell said this past Monday. “To be able to get ourselves back in here [and] to get our players back in here to go through what it is, what happened, and watch the game film and then go out there on the practice field and actually sweat a little bit, get that taste out of your mouth.”
“Be honest with you, I thought, and I said this this morning on the radio, Sunday might have been our best Sunday,” Fickell continued. “I don’t know why, but I thought those guys came out there, a lot of guys limping and on an injury report, but yet then they go out there and do what you ask them to do, run around, sweat a little bit, compete a little bit, have a little bit of fun in the midst of all the things that are going on, and they did. So I trust that this is the attitude that these guys have.”
However, come gameday, the Badgers weren’t able to turn those efforts into progress on the field, leading to another disappointing outcome, which Fickell acknowledged.
“I said it on Sunday. They came out and had a good night. They did a good job,” Fickell said after the game this weekend. “It’s the ability to consistently continue to do the things the rest of the week that give you a chance to perform and play at the level you need to play at.”
“For some reason right now we’re not able to do that. I think we have pretty good weeks, and then when you get out there on Saturday, the ability to adjust and adapt to maybe a few new things, especially in the first half, we just have not found a way to be able to do.”
Following the game, a dejected group of Badgers players spoke with reporters, sharing their frustrations, while acknowledging the lack of answers at the moment.
However, some remained confident that a turnaround is possible, which starts on the practice field this week.
But, just like this past week, a good set of practices doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t come together on Saturdays. And currently, the Badgers are struggling to figure out how to put it all together.