Trying to avoid a losing record for the first time since 2001, the Wisconsin Badgers (7-6, 4-5 Big Ten), under new head coach Luke Fickell, finished their roller-coaster season on a high note and sent Jim Leonhard out in style.
Despite the terrible field conditions, UW dominated the time of possession by more than 16 minutes, ran the ball down the Cowboys’ throat, and defeated Oklahoma State 24-17 in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl to cap off the 2022 season.
Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly from the season finale against the Oklahoma State Cowboys…
The Good: Wisconsin’s running game
It was good to see Wisconsin do what they’re known for: winning games in the trenches and running the ball at will.
UW’s 1, 2 punch of Braleon Allen and Chez Mellusi combined to register 38 carries for 193 yards (5 YPC) and two touchdowns.
The time off paid dividends for both players, but more so for Allen, who looked more explosive after nursing a shoulder injury for the better part of the season.
I acknowledge that the field conditions weren’t ideal and could have played a role, but Wisconsin’s offensive line opened up some quality running lanes and got some extra push for its tailbacks.
The Bad: Missed opportunities
UW completely outplayed Oklahoma State, but the scoreboard didn’t reflect that because of missed opportunities.
John Torchio jumped a curl route and dropped an easy pick-six, Dean Engram dropped an important pass in the red zone, Keontez Lewis dropped a would-be touchdown pass in the endzone and several other shoestring tackles could have also gone for six (Mellusi/Dike).
I’m nitpicking, but this game could have been out of reach and on cruise control with better execution. Just my two cents.
The Ugly: Chase Wolf’s Interception
The Wisconsin Badgers jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on the opening drive and followed up that up with a three-and-out from Jim Leonhard’s defense.
Then, Chez Mellusi busted off a 51-yard run to put the Badgers in Oklahoma State territory — things were looking good early.
That is until Chase Wolf ran a play-action pass out of the pistol and failed to see the corner sitting in zone coverage, which led to him throwing a terrible interception and squandering a drive that could have put the Badgers in the driver’s seat early.
I don’t want to pick on Wolf too much, though, because he bounced back and did a decent job managing the game. The senior quarterback completed 16-of-26 passes for 116 yards with one touchdown and one pick.
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