The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Wisconsin Can’t Roll with Alabama


Even at full strength and in mid-season form, Wisconsin would have had a tough time upsetting Alabama. Unfortunately for the Badgers, inexperience and injuries to key players made it tough to hang all four quarters with a Tide team that was firing on all cylinders. 

Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

The bread and butter for the Badgers has always been tough, smash-mouth, run it down your throat football. That didn’t happen as Wisconsin found it tough to get anything going against a very strong and very talented Alabama front seven that features many future NFL players. Corey Clement’s debut as starter did not go as planned. He found it tough getting anything going and, reminiscent of last year against LSU with Melvin Gordon, was held out most of the second half. It was a mystery at first but later on we would find out Clement has been battling a groin injury heading into this game.

Speaking of injuries, Michael Caputo got his bell rung and then some on the third play of the game. After getting hit hard by a Derrick Henry knee to the head, Caputo got up very dazed and went to go lineup in Alabama’s backfield. Anyone watching the game could tell something was not right at all. After watching it in slow motion, it’s a scary situation that we all hope Caputo is able to come back from.

With that being said, there was some good, some bad and some ugly coming from Wisconsin as they try to shake off the loss to ‘Bama and look ahead to the rest of the season.

THE GOOD- Joel Stave has seemingly overcome any “yips” he had last year and looked good in the pocket Saturday night, especially in the first half. Stave went 14-of-16 for 149 yards and one touchdown before halftime. Coming out of halftime was a different story as Alabama made adjustments and Stave finished 26-39 for 228 yards, two touchdowns and an interception late in the game.

Still it has to give you a slight sigh of relief as Stave did this with no resemblance of a running game, lacking playmakers at receiver and going against a stout Alabama defense. I like how Wisconsin is starting to look more two-dimensional than it normally does.

THE BAD- Injuries reared its ugly head throughout fall camp and it continued Saturday night. Team leader and defensive captain Michael Caputo suffered a bad concussion three plays in and the defense missed him the rest of the game. Missed tackles and giving up big plays really hurt any momentum Wisconsin was trying to gain. With plenty of talk of Wisconsin’s defense being one of the best in the country, they certainly did not play like it. The Badgers gave up 502 yards of total offense, allowing Henry to run for 147 yards and three touchdowns. The star running back scored on plays from 37, 56 and two yards out and backup Kenyan Drake added a 43 yard score in the fourth quarter to put the dagger in the Badgers.

THE UGLY- Wisconsin had absolutely nothing going in the run game. Clement was banged up coming into the game and only mustered 16 yards on eight carries, most of which came in the first half. As a team, the Badgers only compiled 40 yards on the ground, well below their average from a year ago. Wide receiver Alex Erickson was the team’s leading rusher, taking an end around 25 yards late in the second half.

As happy as you are with the passing game, the lack of a rushing game causes great concern in Madison. Even against a top-notch defense you would think the Badgers would be able to get something going on the ground. But the inexperience of the offensive line really showed as did the lack of talent behind Clement.

Wisconsin can now look forward to an easier road ahead, starting with a tilt at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday against Miami (OH).

Next: Michael Caputo Suffers Scary Injury

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