Wisconsin football dominated Michigan State at home to move to 6-0. Badger of Honor hands out game balls to the players that had an exceptional game.
This Wisconsin football continued its hot streak, pounding the visiting Michigan State Spartans 38-0. With this victory, Wisconsin football is now 3-0 against Michigan teams this season, outscoring them 134-14 overall. The running joke on Twitter now is that the Upper Penninsula now belongs to Wisconsin after they have just dominated the state of Michigan in football.
Like many weeks before, there are a lot of players who could walk away from this game with a game ball. This week is no different. With such a great team, it’s really hard to decide who gets this recognition. Let’s take a look at who takes home a Badger of Honor game ball after the blowout of Michigan State.
Game ball No. 1: Jack Coan
As we talked about in the tale of the tape for this game, Michigan State needed to stop Jonathan Taylor in order to stay in this game. Overall, they held Taylor in check about as well as you can, holding him to just 80 yards on 26 carries. JT did score two touchdowns, but one is because of an assist from tight end Jake Ferguson, who could have walked into the end zone but stumbled and fell down around the one-yard line, giving Taylor an easy walk-in touchdown.
With Taylor being held in check, Jack Coan would have to pick up the slack, and he did. Coan was very efficient, completing 18-of-21 passes (86%) for 180 yards and a touchdown. Thankfully the line held up well against this Michigan State defense, giving Coan plenty of time to pick apart the Spartan secondary. The stats don’t pop out as insane, but he was able to convert on third downs and help Wisconsin football keep possession of the ball. During the game, the Badgers held the ball almost twice as long as the Spartans did.
When Jonathan Taylor was stonewalled about as well as he could be, Jack Coan stepped up and led the Badgers to an impressive victory to keep this Wisconsin football team undefeated.
Game ball No. 2: Zack Baun
It feels like Zack Baun is on this list every week, but he deserves it, right? He finds a way to make at least one big play that impacts the game. In this game, he didn’t get a sack, but he did have three tackles, one of which was for a loss. So it wasn’t his sack numbers that got him a game ball. No, this week it was an interception returned for a touchdown that also took quarterback Brian Lewerke out of the game for the backup.
In the play, Baun was lined up like he was going to blitz. When the ball was snapped, he dropped back into coverage and Lewerke threw it right to him. Baun took it all the way back for a score, putting the Badgers up 31-0 and putting a dagger in the Spartans. He and Chris Orr are the leaders of this defense, which looks to be one of if not the best defense in the country.
Game ball No. 3: Jim Leonhard
Okay, so not a player this time, but by picking the Jim Leonhard, I’m really picking the whole defense. I’m just so impressed with everyone on this side of the football. In six games this year, this defense has pitched four shutouts.
This Wisconsin defense shut down this Michigan State offense. Lewerke was the top passing quarterback in the Big Ten coming into this game and the Badgers held him to 53 yards and an interception. Receiver Darrell Stewart Jr. was held to just five catches for 59 yards, and most of that was in garbage time towards the end of the game.
What Leonhard and this defense are doing is incredible. There will be people out there who will complain and say they haven’t played anyone with a good offense, but you can only play who is in front of you. Teams like Alabama haven’t necessarily been playing the hardest teams every week either, and they aren’t having the same success this Wisconsin defense has.
Wisconsin football fans better enjoy Jim Leonhard while we have him because while I can’t see him leaving for another defensive coordinator job, I’m sure a shot to be the head coach of a program may be too much for him to pass up. With how the Wisconsin defense is playing, his name is already a hot one as a possible head coaching candidate.
The Badgers look to keep the train rolling when they visit Illinois (2-4) in their first road game since Week 1 in South Florida.
All stats courtesy of Sports Reference