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.

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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.


 

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Sep 3, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Braelon Allen (0) celebrates after rushing for a touchdown during the second quarter against the Illinois State Redbirds at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Braelon Allen Runs All Over Redbirds, Badgers Win 38-0 in Week 1

Saturday’s football game between the No. 18 Wisconsin Badgers and the Illinois State Redbirds was anything but a normal game at Camp Randall Stadium.

Yes, it wasn’t even normal for the team located in Normal.

Sophomore running back Braelon Allen rushed for 148 yards on 14 attempts, including a 96-yard touchdown run, the longest rush by any Badgers’ player in program history. Alongside a pick-six from safety John Torchio and a touchdown pass from quarterback Graham Mertz to Chimire Dike, the Badgers defeated the Redbirds 38-0.

Big Plays Lead the Way

Some may say, “it’s not about how you start; it’s about how you finish.”

On a night when Wisconsin started slow, John Torchio had other plans.

The senior safety started the scoring frenzy with a big play, intercepting Illinois State quarterback Zack Annexstad at the goal line with under two minutes remaining in the first quarter and returning it for a touchdown. This interception is Torchio’s fifth as a Badger, and his first interception returned for a touchdown in his collegiate career. He also had three tackles, one TFL, and a sack.

Torchio, formerly a walk-on, is a true senior this season and is starting on a defense that held the Redbirds scoreless the entire game, allowing the Illinois State offense inside the red zone on only one drive.

Braelon Allen Breaks A Program Record

Oxford Languages defines the word “unstoppable” as “impossible to stop or prevent.”

Another definition of “unstoppable?”

Braelon Allen.

As previously stated, Allen finished the game with 148 rushing yards, averaging 10.6 yards per carry. He also put numbers on the scoreboard with two touchdown runs, one of which happened to be a 96-yard carry, breaking James White’s previous record for the longest rush in program history of 93-yards.

What’s Next?

Following Saturday’s game, the Badgers remain in Madison to host another home game against the Washington State Cougars. The game starts at 2:30 p.m. CST and will air on FOX.


 

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 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).