The Wisconsin Football team dominated the Wolverines 49-11 as they ran for 341 total yards and five touchdowns in their return to action Saturday night.
Three weeks after Wisconsin football torched Illinois and dealt with an outbreak of over 20 Covid-19 cases, the Badgers reminded the college football world they are a legitimate contender to make the College Football Playoffs.
After a punt on the first series, the Badgers’ defense responded with an interception of Michigan’s Junior QB, Joe Milton on their first offensive snap. Mertz and the Wisconsin football offense wasted no time getting into the end zone. Sophomore RB Nakia Watson capped off a four-play, 1:33 minute drive, with the first of his two touchdowns on the day.
On Michigan’s following possession, the Badgers’ LB Leo Chenal picked of Milton for the second time in as many attempts. Chenal’s return to the Michigan 14 yard line helped set up the Kansas Kannon’s 1-yard touchdown pass to fullback Mason Stokke and put Wisconsin football up 14-0 early in the first quarter.
Following a Michigan three-and-out, the Badgers marched 60 yards with a balanced attack. WR Danny Davis carried an end-around for 18 yards, before Mertz found his favorite target, and Barry Alvarez’s grandson, for another first down. Later, Davis ended the drive the way it started, with an 8-yard end-around to put Wisconsin football up 21-0. On the subsequent series, Nakia Watson added to the lead with his second touchdown run.
These first few series were a microcosm of the Badgers’ beatdown in the Big House. Wisconsin’s offense scored touchdowns on five of their first six possessions, while, the defense didn’t allow a drive over three plays the entire first quarter and held the Wolverines scoreless until an early third-quarter field goal.
Compared to their opener against Illinois, the Badgers looked impressive on the ground. Head Coach Paul Chryst and Offensive Coordinator, Joe Rudolph, showed a commitment to pounding the rock. Freshman RB Jalen Berger lead the team with 87 yards and his first career rushing touchdown. Watson added 65 yards on 12 carries, while WR Danny Davis had 65 yards on seven touches. Overall, the Badgers looked like the Badgers we know and love — averaging 6.7 yards per carrying and asserting their will on the Michigan defense.
Through the air, Wisconsin football phenom, Graham Mertz followed up his breakout performance with a solid outing. Mertz completed 12 of 22 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns. However, Mertz did not need too much more than that. The running game and defense were more than enough to take care of a Michigan team that looked like they were the team that hasn’t played in three weeks.
The second half of the game carried on much like the first. The Badgers’ second-stringers saw plenty of action and kept their foot on the gas. Wisconsin scored touchdowns on three of their four possessions (not counting the final possession to run out the clock) and only gave up 11 points on 219 total yards by Michigan.
It is safe to say Wisconsin football is back and on the rise. Last night’s victory is an important step towards the College Football Playoffs. By returning to the field, Wisconsin can still qualify for the four playoff spots, but before we get ahead of ourselves, the Badgers face a tough matchup against #19 Northwestern in Evansville this Saturday.