Through four games of the non-conference schedule, the Wisconsin Badgers have compiled a record of 3-1. This weekend opens up Big Ten play, but before that happens here’s a report card on Wisconsin’s offensive unit.
Quarterback: It’s been an up and down season for quarterback Tanner McEvoy. Against LSU, he went 8-24 for 50 yards and threw a pair of interceptions. Since that disaster, he has improved, as his season stats are 51-86, 605 yards, and a 5-4 touchdown to interception ratio. However, he still needs to improve as a passer, as a large chunk of his yards have come off bubble screens. He needs to improve as a downfield passer. Otherwise, Wisconsin will see a lot of defenses stacked against the run. That being said, he has been terrific on his feet, as he has 276 rushing yards.
More from Badger of Honor
- Wisconsin Football flips 3-star defensive tackle from Northwestern
- Former Wisconsin Football stars to be featured on the next Wheaties box
- Believe it or not, Wisconsin Football has never played these FBS teams
- Four-star running back Darrion Dupree commits to Wisconsin Football
- Wisconsin Football wide receiver enters the transfer portal
Running Backs: Melvin Gordon has lived up to the hype, as he has 612 yards and 8 touchdowns. He ran for 140 yards against defensive powerhouse LSU, until a hip flexor injury ended his night. The most impressive stat is his amazing 8.2 yards per carry. The numbers don’t even tell the full story, as he’s made great jukes, spins, stiff arms, and power moves that make him look like a mix between Jamaal Charles and Chris Johnson. Meanwhile, Corey Clement has been great as a downhill power back, totaling 290 yards on the season despite his dud against LSU. Both backs could contribute a little more in the passing game though.
Wide Receivers: The Badgers receiving corps was the biggest concern for fans heading into the season. Heading into Big 10 play, it’s still the biggest concern. Alex Erickson has stepped up as a true number 1 receiver, but most of his 256 yards have come off bubble screens. Meanwhile, Jordan Fredrick, Reggie Love, and Kenzel Doe have a combined 4 catches on the season. No other receiver on the team has a catch. If another receiver can’t step up and get open for McEvoy, the Badgers running backs will see a lot of stacked boxes. Please come back Jared Abbrederis.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Tight Ends/Full Backs: Sam Arneson has done a nice job receiving, as he had 156 yards and 2 touchdowns. Troy Fumagalli also has been active in the passing game, as he’s made some nice plays downfield. Most importantly, Arneson, Fumagalli, and Mike Traylor have done a great job blocking in the run game. Full back Austin Ramesh has done a nice job filling in for the injured Derrick Watt, hauling in his first career touchdown reception.
Offensive Line: Wisconsin’s offensive lineman manhandled LSU in the first half, getting Melvin Gordon into the second level quickly and efficiently. They also paved the way for over 600 team-rushing yards against Bowling Green. Other than, this unit has been surprisingly shaky. Numerous holding calls against South Florida, along with terrible 3rd down blocking was the main reason the team put up only 3 points in the first half. Center Dan Voltz has also had some poor snaps, leading to fumbles. However, expect this experienced, massive unit to bounce back and dominate Northwestern next weekend.
Offensive Play Calling: The most surprising thing about this season has been the coaching. And I mean surprising in the “oh no I can’t believe this is happening” way. Offensive Coordinator Andy Ludwig has given Tanner McEvoy more throwing attempts than Melvin Gordon has received rushing attempts. This was most harmful against LSU, when Ludwig called for deep passes when Wisconsin was winning, leading to interceptions and a blown lead. The red zone play calling has also been pretty poor. On the bright side, Bret Bielema is still winless in the SEC.