The Wisconsin football team dispatched the Northwestern Wildcats at home, extending their winning streak to six games in a row. There really wasn’t a whole lot of bad things for the Badgers from that game when the starters were in. So instead of ‘the good, the bad, and the ugly,’ we are going to do ‘the good, the better, and the best,’ from the Badgers’ latest win.
The Good: Graham Mertz looks confident again
We’ve seen two sides to the quarterback for the Wisconsin football team this year. He’s played very well in some games and very poor in others. He is coming off of a great game against Rutgers, but that was against Rutgers. The question is, would he be able to repeat that success against Northwestern.
The answer to that question is yes.
He came out looking confident against Northwestern. The Badgers got their running game going early, giving Mertz a chance to make some throws in some low-risk situations. He looked confident in the pocket, throwing some strikes.
Yes, he threw an interception, but honestly, that wasn’t a terrible interception. The Badgers were up 21-0 right before halftime and he was being aggressive. He overthrew Danny Davis that led to a pick in the end zone. Honestly, I like to see the aggressiveness from Mertz. I don’t think that he tries that throw if he isn’t feeling confident.
Outside of that pick, Mertz really looked good. He finished the game 18/23 for 216 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. The Kansas Kannon is coming on at the right time for the Badgers.
The Better: Braelon Allen truly looks like the next great Wisconsin running back
No Mellusi, no problem? Well, to a point. The running back room behind Allen and Schipper is a little concerning. Both Julius Davis and Jackson Acker put the ball on the ground in garbage time, with Davis’ fumble leading to a scoop n’ score for the Wildcats, giving them their only points of the game.
But while Allen was in, he thoroughly dominated the game. Earlier this week, in my bold predictions, I had Allen going for 175 yards and a pair of touchdowns. I’d say Allen surpassed that prediction. He finished with 173 yards and three touchdowns on just 25 carries.
Even while being banged up, Allen just ran all over the Wildcats today, bouncing off defenders and breaking tackles constantly.
I don’t want to jinx him, because he is just a freshman, but his success is matching or even beyond what Jonathan Taylor did as a freshman. I’m not saying he’ll have the career JT did, but he has all the makings of being the next great running back for the Wisconsin football team.
The Best: The defense doesn’t allow points despite some close calls
Even though the Badgers didn’t pitch a shutout, the defense did. The only Northwestern points came from a fumble recovery that the Wildcats returned for a touchdown. What’s even more impressive is that the Wildcats were in the red zone multiple times and came away with zero points.
In their first possession, the Wildcats marched down the field but Caesar Williams ended that bid for points when he intercepted Andrew Marty in the end zone. The Wildcats also missed a field goal in the red zone as well.
The Wisconsin football defense also continued making plays, forcing four interceptions. They have forced 16 turnovers in the past four games. That’s insane.
They allowed 114 yards on the ground, double of what they average, but to be fair, a huge chunk of that yardage was on a run where the Northwestern running back was stripped and his teammate picked it up and gained a huge chunk of yards. Taking that play out, the Badgers’ run defense was just as dominant as usual.
This defense continues to be the best in the nation.
Wisconsin will now set its sights on Nebraska, who will come to Camp Randall in the Badgers’ final home game of the season.