LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 30: Quarterback Graham Mertz #5 of the Wisconsin Badgers looks on during a time out against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl at Allegiant Stadium on December 30, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Badgers defeated the Sun Devils 20-13. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Badgers Football: Initial reactions to week 5 loss against Illinois

My thoughts, and prayers, on the Wisconsin Badgers Week 5 performance

It’s been over 24 hours since the Wisconsin Badgers took a 34-10 loss at the hands of the Illinois Fighting Illini and the feeling of disappointment and embarrassment won’t flee me.

Illinois came into Camp Randall and showed the Badgers how to play Wisconsin Football.

In my 29 years of life I have never seen a Wisconsin offensive line dominated the way they were on Saturday. Evidence by the team totaling only TWO rushing yards.

Graham Mertz looked incredible in the first quarter, throwing for 98 yards and a touchdown. A few untimely interceptions and TERRIBLE decisions cost him, and the team dearly after that.

The score at halftime was 14-10 in favor of Illinois. This was the perfect moment for the Badger to define their season and they failed.

Paul Chryst on the hot seat?

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 30: Head coach Paul Chryst of the Wisconsin Badgers looks on from the sidelines against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl at Allegiant Stadium on December 30, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Badgers defeated the Sun Devils 20-13. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

The Badgers coaching staff made ZERO halftime adjustments, and weren’t able to lead the team to score a single point in the second half.

Paul Chryst apparently lead an expletive-laced rant directed towards the team at halftime, but it clearly had zero impact.

The Badgers came out looking flat and uninspired. Complete opposite to their foes an the other side of the field, who acted like this was the biggest game of their lives.

The Badgers were undisciplined, physically overmatched, and out coached against the Illini.

Paul Chryst has had great success during his tenure at Wisconsin, but I think every Badger fan is fair in asking if a coaching change is needed.

The program has been on the down-slide the past two-three years. And all signs point to it getting worse.

It seems Chryst may have lost the locker room, with the lack of fire and focus the Badgers are playing with this season.

Chryst’s coaching seat is luke warm at the moment. Knowing Wisconsin’s patience with head coaches, regardless the sport.

But with a few more losses this year and it will red red hot.

Continue reading

PISCATAWAY, NJ – NOVEMBER 06 : Head coach Paul Chryst of the Wisconsin Badgers talks with quarterback Graham Mertz (5) during a game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at SHI Stadium on November 6, 2021 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Wisconsin defeated Rutgers 52-3. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Football: Report Card for Week 5 loss vs. Illinois

Wisconsin Football: Report Card for Week 5 loss vs. Illinois

Wisconsin football suffered a horrific defeat on Saturday, falling 34-10 to the Illinois Fighting Illini on Saturday.

This one stings quite a bit and should leave many fans of the program physically ill.  To lose like this to the Buckeyes is one thing, but against a fellow Big Ten West team, a team Wisconsin should’ve used as a bounce-back game, is rotten.

Credit should be given to Bret Bielema and Illinois, however.  They came into Camp Randall Stadium and handled business across the board.  Bielema’s first return to Madison since 2012 was an extreme success for the Illini and leave the Badgers in one of the worst spots the program has been in, in years.

This loss leaves the Badgers with an 0-2 record in conference play, and 2-3 overall.  That’s good enough for dead last in the Big Ten West standings.

Grading out the Badger Football team shouldn’t be too tough, as not many positives came out of this game, or many of the recent ones.  Below is the report card for week 5.


Offense: F

The opening drive to this game was not an accurate reflection of how this game would turn out in any way, shape, or form.  Quarterback Graham Mertz took the offense down the field and connected with running back Isaac Guerendo with a beautiful pass for the touchdown.  All is well so far.

Things would then take a turn for the worst.  The offense would total 208 yards for the game, which includes the stellar opening drive.  Even more upsetting, the Badgers rushing offense would total just 2 (!) yards.  No one in the backfield would have more than 8 rushing attempts, with Braelon Allen leading the way.  He would only have 2 yards gained by himself, however.

The rushing attack is usually a strength for the program, and a good amount of credit is usually given to the offensive line.  Against Illinois, however, they looked very different, and did not play a complete or effective game.

With the line not playing up to standards, and the rushing attack stalled, it was only a matter of time for the passing attack to slow down.  Exactly that happened, with Mertz finishing the day with a total QBR of 30.4, completing 17-of-31 throws for 206 yards, the lone touchdown on the opening drive, and 2 interceptions.

The receiving core may have been the only spot to smile at, but even they can’t take away the sting.  Wide receiver Chimere Dike and tight end Jack Eschenback would both haul in 5 passes, with Dike leading the charge with 76 receiving yards.

The cherry on top of this abysmal grade goes along with the backfield, again.  It’s hard to imagine things could get worse when they totaled two yards with a backfield led by Braelon Allen, one of the top backs in the country coming in to the season, but it does.  Running Back Isaac Guerendo added to the turnover count, fumbling, and losing, the ball.


Defense: F

The Wisconsin Badger defense, led by Jim Leonhard, was not any better for the overall grade of the team.  While having three turnovers on offense won’t do the defense any favors, this unit still underperformed on a massive scale.

Illinois quarterback Tommy DeVito had a nice day, finishing with a QBR of 86.6.  This came from a day where DeVito went 18-of-24 with 167 yards and three rushing touchdowns.  No passing touchdowns came with this, but neither did any interceptions.

The Illini rushing attack also had a nice day, with running back Chase Brown doing the most damage.  Brown would carry the ball 25 times for 129 yards and a touchdown.

Wisconsin’s defense was not able to force any turnovers on the day either.  Hard to come out with a win losing the turnover battle 3-0.


Coaching: F

The matchup came with emotions on both sides of the field.  Bret Bielema was coming back to Madison for the first time since his departure, and Wisconsin was coming off an embarrassing loss to the Buckeyes the week prior.  Both were motivated to come into this matchup and perform.  Bielema just so happened to be the winner here and did so in convincing fashion.

Coach Paul Chryst was outperformed in every aspect of the game.  His players were undisciplined, unmotivated, and seriously lacked any creativity or drive.  This game was a sure-fire stamp that his seat should be hot.  The Badgers program looks bad, and the outlook can only be described as stale, at best.  The boos in Camp Randall Stadium should’ve made that loud and clear.


Overall: F

There is nothing positive to come out of this game.  Everything was bad.  Something needs to change.


Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin football news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Alex Fletcher on Twitter @AlexFletcher920

Join the Badger Notes watch party and stream Wisconsin Badgers Football games by clicking this link.

*Chat about this article over at Badgers After Dark

*Subscribe and listen to the BadgerNotes.com podcast (as seen on Apple, Google, Spotify, and wherever you listen to podcasts).


Sep 21, 2019; Madison, WI, USA; A Wisconsin Badgers helmet sits on the sidelines during the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin Badgers Football: PFF grades from week 5 loss to Illinois

Wisconsin Badgers Football: PFF grades from week 5 loss to Illinois

Madison, Wis. – Head coach Paul Chryst and the Wisconsin Badgers (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten), in desperate need of righting the ship, were blown out by Bret Bielema and the Illinois Fighting Illini 34-10 at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday. 

The Karma Cup was anything but a competition on Saturday because, after the opening drive where Wisconsin marched down the field and went up 7-0, the Fighting Illini thoroughly dominated the Badgers in front of more than 70,000 fans.


Wisconsin’s Offense

PISCATAWAY, NJ – NOVEMBER 06 : Head coach Paul Chryst of the Wisconsin Badgers talks with quarterback Graham Mertz (5) during a game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at SHI Stadium on November 6, 2021 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Wisconsin defeated Rutgers 52-3. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

The offense hit a new low against Illinois, mustered up a mere 208 total yards (206 passing, 2 rushing) – which is the Badgers’ worst showing of the season and UW’s lowest offensive output since 2016.

When you supposedly have one of the most talented offensive lines in the country, a two-yard rushing performance feels even more embarrassing than it already is. UW was dominated in the trenches by the Illini and didn’t fair any better in pass protection, allowing five sacks and seven pressures.

It’s hard to point to something that went right offensively, and it begs the question, how does Wisconsin right the ship?

Here’s a look at the five highest-graded offensive players from Wisconsin’s loss to Illinois, according to Pro Football Focus:

  •  QB Graham Mertz (79.1) Good
  • RB Isaac Guerendo (72.9) Above Avg.
  • WR Chimere Dike (70.4) Above Avg.
  • WR Keontez Lewis (63.7) Average
  • LT Jack Nelson (63.4) Average

Wisconsin’s defense

MADISON, WISCONSIN – OCTOBER 02: Wisconsin defensive coach Jim Leonhard looks on in the fourth quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Camp Randall Stadium on October 02, 2021 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

Under Jim Leonhard, Wisconsin’s defense has been the program’s lifeblood. No matter what they were up against, UW had one of the best defensive units in college football to keep them in the game.

After losing eight starters off last season’s top-ranked defensive unit, I can confidently tell you that’s no longer the case.

Wisconsin’s defense allowed an efficient 307 yards of offense to the Illini (167 passing, 137 rushing). It failed to make life difficult for opposing quarterback Tommy Devito and the nations leading rusher, Chase Brown.

This defense continues to be undisciplined, struggles with tackling, and can’t seem to create pressure – it’s a problem.

UW registered only four pressures all day long, all of which came from Herbig and Benton, who had two apiece. They need help. Period.

It’s hard to take away many positives from this one.

Here’s a look at the five highest-graded defensive players from Wisconsin’s loss to Illinois, according to Pro Football Focus:

  • DE James Thompson Jr. (76.3) Good
  • OLB C.J. Goetz (75.1) Good
  • OLB Darryl Peterson (74.7) Good
  • OLB Nick Herbig (72.8) Above Average
  • S Kamo’i Latu (71.2) Above Average

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers Football news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Dillon Graff on Twitter @DillonGraff.

Join the Badger Notes watch party and stream Wisconsin Badgers Football games by clicking this link.

*Chat about this article over at Badgers After Dark

Oct 1, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; The Wisconsin Badgers line up for a play during the first quarter against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois blows out the Wisconsin Badgers 34-10 at Camp Randall

A big day from quarterback Tommy Devito and running back Chase Brown gave the Illinois Fighting Illini a blowout 34-10 victory over the Wisconsin Badgers in Madison on Saturday. Devito rushed for a career-high three touchdowns, while Brown posted one of his own.

Persistent Struggling on Offense…

With one of the best running backs in the country in Braelon Allen, the Badgers did not use him much at all in Saturday’s game. Allen only carried the ball eight times, his lowest amount of carries this season. It wasn’t just Allen not touching the ball, though, as the rest of the running back corps carried the ball a combined nine times for 22 yards. Chez Mellusi lead the rest of the backs with seven carries, also leading the team in rushing yards with a mere 16.

Graham Mertz took over as the primary weapon on offense, going 17-for-32 with 206 yards and a first-quarter touchdown pass to running back Isaac Guerendo, one of two receptions for Guerendo on the afternoon.

The Badgers’ offense posted only 208 total yards of offense on Saturday, a new season low following last week’s loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes.


…and Defense

Normally a powerhouse defense headed by defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard, the Badgers struggled to keep the Fighting Illini out of the end zone. This is partially due to the four rushing touchdowns given up to Illinois quarterback Tommy Devito and running back Chase Brown.

Four rushing touchdowns is the most allowed by the Badgers’ defense this season. The Fighting Illini also rushed for 137 yards, the second highest mark allowed by Wisconsin’s defense this season. Wisconsin also allowed 19 first downs on Saturday, the highest allowed by the team this year, as well as nearly 34 minutes of possession for Illinois compared to the Badgers’ 26 minutes of possession.


What’s Next?

Following Saturday’s loss, the Badgers travel to face the Northwestern Wildcats, Wisconsin’s third different opponent from Illinois this season. The Wildcats enter the game with a 1-4 record this season along with one of the lowest scoring offenses in college football. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CST and will air on Big Ten Network.


Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Sam Strash on Twitter @strash_sam.

Join the Badger Notes watch party and stream Wisconsin Badgers games by clicking this link.

*Chat about this article over at Badgers After Dark

*Subscribe and listen to the BadgerNotes.com podcast (as seen on Apple, Google, Spotify, and wherever you listen to podcasts).

Sep 24, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Jack Sawyer (33) sacks Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz (5) during the first half of the NCAA Division I football game at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch Ncaa Football Wisconsin Badgers At Ohio State Buckeyes

Post Game Recap: Wisconsin Badgers fall to Buckeyes 52-21

No. 3 Ohio State (4-0, 1-0) made Saturday night miserable for the Wisconsin Badgers (2-2, 0-1) as C.J. Stroud, TreVeyon Henderson, Miyan Williams, and Emeka Egbuka led the Buckeyes to a dominating 52-21 victory.

Wisconsin Badgers Crushed in Columbus

Ohio State opened the game with a six-play, 88-yard scoring drive in the first three minutes, which OSU parlayed into a 28-0 scoring run in the first 21 minutes of the game.

C.J. Stroud found the tight end, Cade Stover, in the endzone twice in the first quarter, setting the tone for the entire game. Stover finished with four receptions on six targets resulting in 51 receiving yards and those two touchdowns.

Ohio State’s 539 yards were the most allowed by the Badgers since OSU totaled 558 against UW in the 2014 Big Ten title game.

Coming off a blowout win over New Mexico State last weekend, Graham Mertz and the Badgers’ offense came out flat against the Buckeye defense.

Mertz finished the game with 11 completions on 20 passes, and he passed for a mere 94 yards with two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing) and an interception that came early in the first quarter.

Braelon Allen carried much of the offensive load on Saturday, rushing for 165 yards on 23 attempts, including a 75-yard touchdown.

What’s Next?

Following Saturday’s loss, the Badgers will return to Madison to face the 3-1 University of Illinois Fighting Illini on October 1. That game is scheduled to kick off at 11:00 a.m. CST on Big Ten Network.


 

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Sam Strash on Twitter @strash_sam.

Join the Badger Notes watch party and stream Wisconsin games for FREE by clicking this link.

*Chat about this article over at Badgers After Dark

*Subscribe and listen to the BadgerNotes.com podcast (as seen on Apple, Google, Spotify, and wherever you listen to podcasts).

Sep 3, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz (5) celebrates following a touchdown during the third quarter against the Illinois State Redbirds at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 3, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz (5) celebrates following a touchdown during the third quarter against the Illinois State Redbirds at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin Badgers Defeat New Mexico State Aggies 66-7 by Offensive Onslaught

An explosive game on offense led by quarterback Graham Mertz and running backs Braelon Allen and Isaac Guerendo gave the Wisconsin Badgers a dominating 66-7 win over the New Mexico State Aggies on Saturday in Madison. The team posted 595 yards of total offense in the game, scoring every quarter.

Mertz Shows Prowess in the Pocket

Graham Mertz only threw 15 passes on Saturday.

That was all he needed to give his team the victory.

Mertz finished the afternoon with 12 completed passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns, only being sacked once. He posted a 273.23 passer rating (approximately 130 in NFL terms) and averaged 20.9 yards per completion. Two of his touchdowns found the hands of redshirt freshman receiver Skyler Bell, including a 49-yard touchdown five minutes into the third quarter. This touchdown is Bell’s first of his collegiate career.

Big Game Braelon

It wasn’t just the passing game that showed up to play Saturday.

Braelon Allen came, too.

Allen broke loose within the first two minutes of the game, taking the ball for a 39-yard touchdown following a great kickoff return by running back Isaac Guerendo. The sophomore from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin finished the game with three touchdowns total to go along with 86 rushing yards. Allen has eight rushing touchdowns through three games this season, nearing his season total from last year (12).

But, it wasn’t just Braelon Allen controlling the ground game on Saturday. He brought his entire running back room with him.

Speaking of Isaac Guerendo, the Badgers’ backup running back posted two rushing touchdowns of his own. He found the end zone late in the third quarter on a three-yard carry, as well as the early fourth quarter with a 30-yard carry. Other backup running back Chez Mellusi took one to the house as well with a two-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter. Junior running back Julius Davis got some action on the field, too, rushing for 45 yards on nine carries, including a 33-yard run.

What’s Next

Following Saturday’s game, the Badgers travel to Columbus, Ohio for their first conference matchup against the Ohio State Buckeyes. The game starts at 6:30 p.m. CST and will air on ABC.


 

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers’ news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Sam Strash on Twitter @strash_sam.

Join the Badger Notes watch party and stream Wisconsin games for FREE by clicking this link.

*Chat about this article over at Badgers After Dark

*Subscribe and listen to the BadgerNotes.com podcast (as seen on Apple, Google, Spotify, and wherever you listen to podcasts).