Wisconsin Football Falls To Alabama Crimson Tide In Season Opener


After hanging around in the first half to trail 14-7 to the No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide, the Wisconsin football team couldn’t get the running game going and could keep up on the way to a 35-17 loss.

READ ALSO: Michael Caputo Injured Early In Wisconsin-Alabama Game

The Badgers, and quarterback Joel Stave especially, looked good in the passing game in the opening half, quickly abandoning the unproductive running game and instead opting to use the short pass to move down the field. Stave went 14-for-16 for 149 yards and a score in the first half, finding Alex Erickson for the Badgers only touchdown of the half.

Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

Wisconsin only managed 22 yards on 13 carries in the first half while Derrick Henry was busy churning up the yards for Alabama as the Tide took a touchdown lead into the break.

While the Badgers managed to keep it close in the first, once the second half started Alabama’s depth began to show through as the line of scrimmage was quickly taken over by the Tide. Where in the first half Joe Schobert did enough to keep Wisconsin’s hopes alive, the defense around him couldn’t hold off Alabama’s superior talent.

Alabama quickly broke the game open in the second half and coasted to the 35-17 victory.

Jacob Coker started at QB and finished the day 15-for-21 for 213 yards and a TD, and Cooper Bateman took over later in the game, finishing  7-for-8 for 51 yards. Henry took 13 carries for 147 yards and three touchdowns, While Kenyon Drake added 10 carries for 77 yards, scoring once.

After a solid first half, Stave finished the game 26-for-39 for 228 yards, a pair of touchdowns and a late-game interception. Erickson led the receivers with six catches for 73 yards and a score, and added Wisconsin’s longest run of the game, a 25-yard end around. Eight different Badgers caught passes from Stave.

The Badgers took a big hit just seconds into the game when team leader Michael Caputo suffered a head injury in the game’s third play. He was visibly dazed after going low to tackle Henry, and obviously had no clue where he was on the field.

Caputo sat out the rest of the game, and in the second half the Badgers lost Clement to a left groin injury. Clement saw the field for only a few snaps in the second half.

While it wasn’t the outcome Badgers fans were hoping for, Wisconsin showed glimpses of potential. The biggest positive the Badgers can take from the game is the way Stave showed up against one of the best teams he has faced in his career at UW. He’s clearly over whatever was affecting him a year ago, and stood tall despite taking hit after hit from Alabama’s impressive front seven.

Wisconsin will be able to learn a lot from this game, and the Badgers have a few weaker opponents remaining on their schedule to work things out before the Big Ten season opens.

Next: Staff Predictions: How'd We Do?

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