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Why Badgers HC Luke Fickell didn’t call a timeout on crucial delay of game penalty

The Badgers had a costly penalty, followed by a poor sack that took points off the board.

The Wisconsin Badgers dropped a disappointing game to the Indiana Hoosiers in a 20-14 loss on Saturday, moving to 5-4 on the season and 3-3 in conference play.

It was an ugly game for the Badgers, who had several opportunities to score on offense, but ultimately came up with just seven points in each half.

One of the turning points of the game came on an offensive drive where the Badgers were driving deep into Indiana territory, reaching the redzone.

However, on a 3rd & 10 at the Indiana 18-yard line, Badgers quarterback Braedyn Locke took an inexcusable delay of game penalty, which was the second consecutive week that Wisconsin has had one.

That led to a 3rd & 15 at the Indiana 23-yard line, and Locke took a terrible sack, placing the Badgers out of field goal range for a banged-up Nathanial Vakos, eventually forcing Wisconsin to punt, despite being in the redzone two plays earlier.

What happened on the delay of game play, and why didn’t head coach Luke Fickell call a timeout?

“In the situation where we were, again, we’re in field goal range, we’re in good position,” Fickell said. “The way the game is, you try as much you can to conserve your timeouts for the second half, hindsight maybe really felt like we were going to snap it and for some reason, again, we didn’t.”

“And there’s a lot of factors to go into that, getting the protections and stuff like that. But the compounding factor is then you give up a 15 yard sack on the next play and then you second guess yourself for sure.”

Fickell said in hindsight, he likely would’ve called the penalty, keeping the Badgers within a reasonable distance and still in the redzone.

“If I had to [take it] back, yeah,” Fickell said. “Right now, I’d say call the time out, keep yourself in third and six or whatever it was, and hopefully be in a lot better position. But we didn’t, and put ourselves in a lot tougher situation.”

Instead, the Badgers did not take the timeout in that situation, and it ended up being the worst-case scenario for Wisconsin, who just couldn’t find a scoring opportunity after the first drive of the second half in order to beat Indiana.