Wisconsin Badgers vs. Miami (Ohio) Redhawks: Final Thoughts From The Badgers 58-0 Win


After a tough opening-night loss to Alabama, the Wisconsin Badgers had no troubles against Miami (Ohio) during Saturday’s 58-0 victory. The Redhawks may be the weakest team on the Badgers’ schedule, but Wisconsin did some things that are noteworthy for the rest of the way.

Here is the second edition of Badger of Honor’s Final Thoughts article, which will run each Tuesday throughout the season.

READ ALSO: Final Thoughts: Wisconsin vs. Alabama

Double Duty for Tanner McEvoy

Tanner McEvoy played solely on offense against Alabama because of missed practice time with a hamstring injury, but the fifth-year senior started at safety on Saturday. It looks like McEvoy will continue to start on offense and defense as the official Week 3 depth chart suggests.

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On offense, McEvoy’s first touch of the season came on a direct snap that went for two yards. He made his first receptions of his career with three receptions for 29 yards, but his biggest impact came on defense.

Joel Stave threw an interception, but McEvoy gave the ball right back to the Badgers’ offense with an interception. McEvoy returned it 41 yards to the Miami four-yard line, which led to a one-yard touchdown run for Taiwan Deal to give Wisconsin a 27-0 lead in the second quarter.

McEvoy finished with one tackle, an interception and two pass breakups for the Badgers, who are now loaded at safety. McEvoy has a natural feel for the position, and Michael Caputo has proven to be one of the best safeties in the conference.

Passing Game No Longer A Liability

Paul Chryst continues to work his quarterback magic, as Joel Stave looks like a completely different quarterback two games into the season. He looks much more confident than he has ever been during his time in Madison.

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Stave completed 19 of 30 passes for 236 yards with three touchdowns and the interception. Another promising part of the passing game is the emergence of a receiver not named Alex Erickson. Stave went to his favorite target on his first three passes, but it was Rob Wheelwright who finished with a team-high six receptions for 79 yards and two touchdowns.

Wheelwright has dealt with injuries throughout much of his Badgers career, but it looks like he is finally ready to break out in his junior season. He had a combined three receptions for 28 yards and a touchdown in his first two seasons with Wisconsin. Through two games in 2015, he has eight catches for 97 yards and three scores.

Tight end Austin Traylor is mostly known for his blocking, but he worked hard his catching ability in the offseason and caught a 20-yard touchdown pass on Saturday. Troy Fumagalli is a better receiving tight end, but he was limited against Alabama with an ankle injury and missed the Miami game. Once he is fully healthy, he will be another big target for Stave.

For the first time since Russell Wilson’s time in Madison, the passing game looks to be a strength for the Badgers.

Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

Running Game Still Needs Work

Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Joe Rudolph used Saturday’s game to experiment with a few different combinations on the right side of the line. Walker Williams started at right guard, but freshman Micah Kapoi played 38 snaps at the position. Hayden Biegel started at right tackle and rotated with Williams when Kapoi was playing at the guard spot.

The Badgers running game struggled early but wore down Miami’s defense in the second half. Wisconsin carried the ball 21 times for 58 yards in the first half. Even without Corey Clement, the Badgers should have been able to run the ball better against Miami’s defense that allowed 155 yards rushing to a FCS school in Week 1.

Dare Ogunbowale finished with 112 yards rushing and a touchdown on 16 carries. Taiwan Deal carried the ball 14 times for 45 yards with two scores. After two games, Wisconsin ranks No. 107 in the country and last in the Big Ten with 114 yards per game on the ground. That will change, but the inexperienced offensive line is still an issue for the Badgers.

Defense Responds

After allowing 502 total yards to the Crimson Tide, Wisconsin responded nicely on the defensive side of the ball. Miami reached Wisconsin territory on just three of its 16 drives, which resulted in a missed field goal, an interception and a turnover on downs.

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  • The Badgers earned four takeaways including two interceptions by Leo Musso and the pick from McEvoy. It was the first time Wisconsin finished with three interceptions since Nov. 19, 2011 against Illinois.

    Forcing more turnovers was a main focus for defensive coordinator Dave Aranda coming into the season, as the Badgers had just 17 takeaways in 2014.

    Wisconsin limited the Redhawks to negative three yards rushing on the day on 24 attempts, and the Badgers recorded three sacks and nine tackles for loss.

    Wisconsin should enjoy a similar game against Troy this week at Camp Randall, but the Badgers still have things to work on before the schedule gets tougher.

    Next: Badgers Back in AP Poll

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