Prior to the game, one of my biggest takeaways for victory was the turnover battle, which the Badgers lost, committing three, while failing to earn one of their own, as Tanner Mordecai had two fumbles, while Chez Mellusi let one go on a controversial play.
Following the game, head coach Luke Fickell shared his disappointment with the way the outcome went, pointing out the team’s issues with complimentary football as a primary reason for the loss.
“I got to give them a lot of credit. I mean, that’s that’s a good football team that came to play tonight. And, you know, I told our guys in the locker room afterwards that, you know, they outplayed us,” Fickell said.
“And, you know, I don’t know what more you can say about it. I thought we came out the second half, we found out a little bit more about ourselves. We obviously did not play very well in the first half, and a lot of in a lot of situations, complementary football was, you know, was not a strong suit in the first half,” Fickell shared.
While Fickell was pleased with portions of the second half, he stressed the need to finish out games, a significant factor for the head coach upon his arrival in Madison.
“Second half we came out, I thought we played complementary football, offense, defense, special teams did some things really well, but we’ve got to find a way to finish. And you go on the road and you end up for three turnovers to getting none on defense. It’s going to be really difficult to overcome, especially when you’re playing a really good football team with a quarterback that is a really talented football player.”
Fickell still looked to uplift his unit, pointing out their toughness and expectations, but nonetheless, it was a disappointing loss for the Badgers.
“So it stings. It’s really difficult. It’s really tough,” Fickell said. “Those guys are hurting. They’ve worked extremely hard, and they have incredible expectations, but that’s why you play the game.”
Where did the Badgers ultimately fall flat in regards to complimentary football? The turnover battle, as Fickell thought they needed improvements on both sides, losing the differential 3-0.
“Three turnovers to zero turnovers,” Fickell said. “I mean, that’s not complimentary football. That’s not saying that the offense shouldn’t turnover. It’s also saying that the defense got to find ways to create those things like they did.”
Now, heading into Week 3, the Badgers have to do some re-evaluating, as the rebuild will take some more time than expected, especially when it comes to the full team gelling together with a new staff.