MADISON, WISCONSIN – OCTOBER 30: Keeanu Benton #95 of the Wisconsin Badgers celebrates after a fumble recovery during the first half against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Camp Randall Stadium on October 30, 2021 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Badgers vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers: Studs and Duds

The Wisconsin Badgers narrowly escaped the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday afternoon. In a low-scoring defensive battle, the Badgers were able to come out on top due to a late touchdown drive.

While the victory wasn’t the prettiest, Wisconsin did just enough to keep the Freedom Trophy and become bowl eligible.

Here are the studs and duds from Saturday’s win:

Studs:

The Wisconsin Badgers’ rushing attack

The Badgers received some reinforcements after Chez Mellusi returned from injury. In his first game back in action, the senior back played a significant role in the run game.

Altogether, Wisconsin’s running backs logged 232 yards on the ground. Mellusi led the team in rushing yards with 98 after splitting reps with Braelon Allen. Allen also made a significant impact as he rushed for 92 yards. Additionally, Isaac Guerendo posted 42 yards on the ground. Guerendo also made a significant play as he hauled in a 27-yard catch with just over a minute left.

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The Badgers’ tailbacks were the focal point of the offense on Saturday afternoon. The rushing attack came up big when Wisconsin needed a win, making the running back room one of the studs this week.

The Wisconsin Badgers pass rush/run stoppers

The Badgers needed a strong game from the big men up front, and they got it.

The Cornhuskers struggled to move the ball on the ground, with their quarterback, Casey Thompson, leading the team in rushing. The Badgers allowed just 65 rushing yards, effectively shutting down Nebraska’s run game.

The defensive line also came up big for Wisconsin as they sacked Thompson three times. Even with the loss of Nick Herbig due to an ejection, the Badgers’ pass rush was still able to get into the backfield and make plays.

The defense played well enough to keep the game within reach for the Badgers offense, landing the group as a stud for week 12.

Duds:

Wisconsin Badgers receivers

Although the Badgers running backs were significant contributors in this game, that can’t be said for the wide receivers.

Graham Mertz passed for just 83 yards against the Cornhuskers, but the receivers struggled with drops. One of Mertz’s favorite targets, Chimere Dike, was targeted three times but couldn’t haul in a completion. Dike also had two drops on the day, but he was not the only one, as Keontez Lewis also had a dropped pass.

The Badgers’ receivers struggled to haul in Mertz’s passes this week. Wisconsin was able to come away with a win despite the drops, but the receivers will end up as a dud this week.

Wisconsin’s discipline

The Badgers did come out with the win, but mistakes began to mount as they fell behind.

Wisconsin finished the game with five penalties. The most significant penalty was a targeting call on Nick Herbig, which he was ejected for. That penalty will roll over into next Saturday’s matchup against Minnesota, where he will be held out of the first half of the game. Additionally, Herbig was flagged for running onto the field without a helmet after a touchdown reception from Skyler Bell.

Another crucial mistake came on a play where fullback Jackson Acker committed a false start at the one-yard line. The Badgers were able to connect on the field goal, but the penalty potentially cost them six points.

Wisconsin has been a relatively clean team for most of the season when it comes to penalties, but the poor discipline lands as a dud this week.


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