The Wisconsin Badgers(5-4, 3-3) lost an ugly 20-14 battle to the Indiana Hoosiers(3-6, 1-5) in a game that they never held a lead, dropping them to 5-4 on the season and even further down in the Big Ten West race.
Offensively, the Badgers had their second-worst game of the season, scoring just seven points in each half without the likes of running back Braelon Allen and wide receiver Chimere Dike.
Defensively, Wisconsin heavily struggled early, but held Indiana to just three points in the second half, keeping the offense in the game, although it was to no avail.
Here are three quick takeaways from the Badgers 20-14 loss to the Indiana Hoosiers.
Say what you want about offensive coordinator Phil Longo’s playcalling, but quarterback Braedyn Locke had the game in his hands on two separate opportunities, and frankly couldn’t get the job done.
With the Badgers driving inside the redzone, Locke wasn’t aware of the play clock and took an inexcusable delay of game penalty, dropping the offense to a 3rd & 15 at the Indiana 23-yard line.
Could the coaches have called a timeout? Absolutely, but you can’t let a penalty happen in such a crucial situation.
Then, on 3rd down, Locke took a terrible sack from Aaron Casey, pushing the Badgers out of field goal range with an injured kicker, according to Matt Lepay, forcing Wisconsin to punt.
Later in the fourth quarter, with the Badgers driving once again, Locke had a 4th & 2 at the Indiana 32-yard line, and flat-out missed a wide open Will Pauling in the flat, sailing the throw.
Locke’s inaccuracy was present at certain times on Saturday in a 21/41 game where he threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns.
There were some drops, and the Badgers certainly could’ve had better playcalling from offensive coordinator Phil Longo, who ran too many swing passes and got away from the run game at times, but Locke had the game in his hands and couldn’t get the job done.
Throughout the season, head coach Luke Fickell has preached the necessity for complementary football.
Somehow, the Badgers have struggled to do that consistently, as the defense heavily struggled to start this one, allowing a touchdown on the first drive and getting away with a missed field goal on the following possesion.
Wisconsin gave up 17 first-half points, including a tough touchdown drive at the end of the half to make it a two-score lead at halftime.
On the other hand, the Badgers offense just wasn’t functional at all in the first half, turning it over on downs after some initial success on their first drive before punting three consecutive times.
Wisconsin’s defense was outstanding in the second half, but the offense couldn’t build off those opportunities and score points when given the chance.
The Badgers need to figure out how to play together as a team, and it’s costing them crucial games at the moment.
Through ten weeks, the Badgers just haven’t figured out their discipline issues.
Wisconsin had eight penalties for 78 yards on the day, with a number of them coming in crucial situations, either killing drives offensively or continuing drives defensively.
The Badgers had a holding penalty from Jack Nelson and a false start on third downs, which effectively killed both of those drives.
Later on, C.J. Williams was pegged for holding, killing another offensive drive on a 2nd & 6.
Then came the delay of game from Braedyn Locke, which precluded the poor sack that took Wisconsin out of field goal range after initially being in the redzone.
Defensively, the Badgers had three pass interference penalties, with two coming on 3rd & 6 and 3rd & 13, extending drives for the Hoosiers.
Wisconsin hasn’t found a way to play complementary football consistently. The discipline issues, such as penalties, have been a key reason why.