Improvements Badgers Must Make To Win Big Ten


In the first half against LSU, Wisconsin was brilliant. They looked like a top-tier team and a legitimate playoff contender. Their running game was unstoppable, and their run defense was even better. They were beating #12 in the country, an SEC powerhouse, by 10.

Then came the brutal second half. Everything that could possibly go wrong, went wrong. At one point, they looked like they didn’t even belong in the Big 10 title discussion, much less the national one.

While some of it could be chalked up to injuries, the second half was very concerning for Badger fans. If they want to win the Big 10 Championship, they’re definitely going to need to fix a few things. Here are the 3 biggest improvements they must make.


To put it frankly, Tanner McEvoy was awful on Saturday. Awful might even be too kind a word for it. His throws were like Skip Bayless’s sports predictions. Way, way off the mark. He finished 8-24, for 50 yards and a pair of picks. Yes, you heard me. Twenty percent of his completed passes were to the LSU secondary.

One reason for this could be nerves. His first game ever as a QB in a Badger uniform was against LSU with playoff implications. That’s a tough situation for any quarterback.

Whatever the case may be, he had happy feet in the pocket, not much velocity on his throws, and his deep balls weren’t anywhere near a receiver. If the Badgers want to win the Big 10, they’re going to need him to show some competency. Especially with the news that Stave is out indefinitely with the yips.

 Wide Receiver Play

 As bad as McEvoy was, a fair share of the blame deserves to go to the Badgers receiving corps. They got no separation at all on deep passes. Or short passes for that matter.

Reggie Love had a nice touchdown run on a jet-sweep, but he was almost non-existent in the passing attack. The only time he got open was on a screen pass, and he only took that for 2 yards.

Alex Erickson was actually solid (at least compared to the other receivers) but he wasn’t great. He caught 3 passes for 33 yards, but even on those he wasn’t really open. One was a screen pass and McEvoy forced some passes into tight coverage, which he managed to hold on too.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

As for the rest of the Badger receivers? Kyle Costigan, the offensive lineman, had a reception, which means he finished in a tie for second on the team in that category.

So all the blame can’t fall on McEvoy. His receivers couldn’t get open. Either someone on this team needs to step up and make catches, or Jared Abbrederis needs to trick the NCAA into giving him another year of eligibility.

Durability and Depth

The Wisconsin medical staff needs a raise.

Heisman candidate Melvin Gordon was limited to 3 second half carries due to a hip flexor. When he was in, the rushing attack was unstoppable. Not so much with Corey Clement.

Joel Stave has the yips, which isn’t technically an injury, but I’m going to count it as one anyway. He probably would have started if he hadn’t had those issues. He couldn’t have been worse than McEvoy, right?

Warren Herring and Konrad Zagzebski, two key contributors on the d-line were pulled because of injuries. That was the only reason LSU rushed so well in the second half. Herring is out for 4-6 weeks.

Meanwhile, Derrick Watt will join him on the sidelines, as the bruising full back is expected to miss 8 weeks. Those are two astronomical blows for the Badgers, who rely heavily on Herring to stop the run and Watt to help the run.

Even punter Drew Myers wasn’t spared from the injury epidemic. Leg cramps resulted in three botched punts that gave LSU great field position to set up three scores.

Just as worrying as the injuries were the bench players that replaced them. Clement couldn’t find the holes after coming in for Gordon. No substitutes on the d-line could stop the run, which is what Herring had been doing so well. McEvoy, as you know, was very, very bad.

Let’s hope the Badgers can stay healthy and if not, replace the injured with capable substitutes.

Honorable Mentions: Coaching (called way to many pass plays), secondary (gave up too many big plays), and kick returning (no big returns).

If they can improve in those three areas, along with the honorable mentions, the Badgers can definitely win the Big 10. So stay optimistic and keep supporting Wisconsin!