Wisconsin Badgers Football Course Corrects In 58-0 Rout Of Miami (OH)


For the first time in a while, it was the Wisconsin Badgers quarterback who exited early in the second half.

Read also: Tanner McEvoy poised for breakout game against Miami (OH)

Joel Stave was as impressive as he’s ever been in the first half, throwing three touchdowns, two of which came before the Badgers scored their first home rushing touchdown of the season. Stave ended his day with 19 of 30 for 236 and an interception before handed the baton off to Bart Houston.

We saw flashes of the aerial attack in Dallas, but this is a whole new offense. Sure, there were some errant, lame-duck throws (namely the interception) and even a couple Tebow dirt passes, but Stave looked like a completely rejuvenated quarterback in the Paul Chryst era. Rob Wheelwright looked even better than he did in the spring, catching 6 for 79 with two scores.

Also playing up in a new era was Tanner McEvoy who saw playing time on both sides of the ball. While the awards season may forget about Wisconsin players this year due to the lackluster offensive line play, McEvoy just made himself a frontrunner for the newer Paul Hornung Award, given to the most versatile player of the year.

McEvoy caught three passes for 29 yards on offense and hauled in one of the Badgers’ three interceptions for a 41-yard return. Leo Musso also surprised the fans with the other two interceptions. Add in a healthier Michael Caputo tipping passes in the next level and you have a well-oiled defense.

Dare Ogunbowale proved to be the solid spell back to Corey Clement, who was out due to injury, with 112 yards on 16 with a touchdown. Taiwan Deal provided bursts and two touchdowns before Ogunbowale scored on a 35-yard play in the third. Moving forward I wouldn’t be shocked if all three backs, Clement, Ogunbowale and Deal are used in every game.

Clement will be the workhorse, Ogunbowale will be the change-of-pace back and Deal the bruiser at 6-foot-1, 221 pounds.

Production was slowed tremendously in the first half — a cause for alarm. Simply put, this ain’t your slightly older brother’s Wisconsin Badgers offensive line. There’s a lot of work to be done.

Stave did have time in the pocket to complete his throws, and Tyler Marz is probably in the top three pass-blocking tackles in the Big Ten, but there was hardly any push in the first 40 minutes of this game.

Wisconsin rushed for only 188 yards on Saturday and passed for 263. That’s both good and bad for success moving forward. Great news for Joel Stave’s numbers, accidental Wisconsin game viewership, the whole receiving corps, but in order for defenses to wear down in the second half, the big boys up front are going to  have to push opponents back more than 2 yards each early down.

In comparison to last year’s MAC opponent, Bowling Green, the Badgers rushed for a school-record 644 yards.

Special teams also proved why it’s a third of the game. Drew Meyer had excellent hang time on his punts that allowed for the gunners to break up and create turnovers downfield while Rafael Gaglianone sent three field goals through and finished with 14 of the 58 points.

The Wisconsin Badgers (1-1, 0-0) take on Troy next Saturday evening.

Next: BoH Staff Week 2 Predictions

More from Badger of Honor