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Report Card: Wisconsin Football Guaranteed Rate Bowl Win



Wisconsin Badgers Football

Note from the author: Due to site maintenance and upgrades, this article is a tad late.

Wisconsin football closed out the 2022 season on a high note, beating the Oklahoma State Cowboys 24-17 in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.

Although this game closed out the 2022 season, it should be noted that this is the start of a brand-new era in Badger football.

Players will come and go via the transfer portal, graduation, entering the NFL draft, or recruits coming in.

The coaching staff will look very different moving forward, headlined by Jim Leonhard ending his tenure at Wisconsin, and Luke Fickell beginning his.

This game did not mean much in the grand scheme of things, especially since bowl games have gone down in significance over the past few years.  But with everything highlighted above, Wisconsin football fans were tuned in to see how the new regime would perform in their first game on the Badger sideline.

The win closes out the Badgers’ season with an overall record of 7-6, with a conference record of 4-5.

Offense: B

Wisconsin football played a slow and steady game on offense in this one, scoring consistently in the first three quarters.

The passing attack had to overcome the transfer of Graham Mertz.  This allowed quarterback Chase Wolf to step in and show Badger nation what he is capable of.

Wolf showed us that there is room for improvement.

The Cincinnati, Ohio native completed 16 of 26 passes for 116 yards.  One of these passes would hit the pay dirt.  On the flip side, one pass was picked off.  He also lost a fumble.  This all tallied up to a sub-par QBR of 33.4.

Per usual, the slow day in the air translated to a slow day amongst the receiving core.  Wide Receiver Chimere Dike led all receivers with 3 catches for 36 yards.

On the plus side, Wolf was able to spread the ball around very nicely.  He completed passes to nine different receivers in the game.

The running game turned out to be stellar, however.  Running back Braelon Allen led all rushers with 22 carries for 116 yards and one touchdown.

Running back Chez Mellusi also had a nice day, carrying the ball 16 times for 77 yards and a score of his own.

In total, the team ran the ball 47 times for 258 yards.  Classic Wisconsin football.

Defense: B

Wisconsin football played very good defense in this one, bending and not breaking in the fourth quarter to secure the win.

The defense contained quarterback Garret Rangel to the tune of 14 for 31 in passing for 229 yards.  This did come with two touchdowns, but also came with two interceptions.

Late in the first quarter, Wisconsin gave up the biggest scoring play of the game via an 84-yard touchdown pass to Stephon Johnson.

The Badgers would shape up after that and slow down the Cowboy’s offense until the fourth quarter.

The best unit for Bucky on defense would be the run defense.  Oklahoma State was only able to manage 52 yards on 26 carries.

A great way to close out the 2022 season on the defensive side of the ball.

Coaching: A

Any result with a win was going to result in a stellar grade for the coaching staff.

Head coach Luke Fickell knocked it out of the park in his first game on the UW sideline.

He leaned on the running game, dealt with the quarterback turnover, and dished out some very creative play-calling.

On the flip side, Jim Leonhard ended his tenure in Madison with a great performance on the defensive side of the ball.  Just another day at the office for Leonhard and this Badger defense.

To put the cherry on top, the special teams played very well in all phases of this group.  Punting, kicking, returning, it did not matter.  All looked good.

Overall: A

This game was about the new staff, sending out Jim Leonhard with a win, and starting the new era with a win.

Wisconsin football did just that.

This bowl game, like most others, does not matter in the long run.  But it is a great start for the new staff, and the first step in the direction Fickell wants to take this team.

On to much bigger and better things.

Welcome to Madison, coach Fickell.

Best of luck, Coach Leonhard.  Badger for life.

On, Wisconsin.

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