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Wisconsin Football Report Card From 38-17 Win Over Buffalo



Wisconsin football; Badgers head coach Luke Fickell
Sep 2, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell looks on from the sidelines during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bulls at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Madison, Wis. – The Wisconsin football team and Head Coach Luke Fickell admitted after their 38-17 victory over the Buffalo Bulls that the team did not play up to their standards.

The Badgers got off to a slow start offensively against the Bulls, but eventually opened up the scoring. By the end of the game the team seemed to have a better grasp on what their responsibilities are in-motion. Already, the Badgers players and staff understand what the team needs to work on in order to play the way they envision themselves playing next week.

Wisconsin Football vs. Buffalo Bulls Report Card 

In the victory over Buffalo, Wisconsin both learned what they need to work on as well as what aspects of their game they need to implement more of. The Badgers were expected to roll over the Bulls, however the result they received was not quite that. Below are the grades for the Wisconsin offense, defense, and coaching during their recent win.

Wisconsin Badgers Offense: B-

Wisconsin football quarterback Tanner Mordecai

Sep 2, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Tanner Mordecai (8) rushes with the football during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bulls at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin Badgers offense against the Buffalo Bulls was certainly not what many fans had expected. Badgers’ fans wanted to see the high-powered, fast-paced offense decimate Buffalo but instead saw signs of a team still learning. The first offensive drive of the game for the Badgers ended after quarterback Tanner Mordecai was sacked from behind. Wisconsin was able to respond with big rushes from Chez Mellusi and Braelon Allen before Mellusi made his way into the endzone.

While Allen and Mellusi both had excellent days, Mordecai struggled in his first official outing with the Badgers. To start the second quarter, Mordecai had a pass intended for tight end Tucker Ashcraft intercepted. The pass was thrown behind Ashcraft, which allowed the safety to read the play and nearly return the interception for a touchdown. The quarterback showed poise, however, as he stood in the pocket and took a hit while delivering his lone touchdown.

Along with Mordecai struggling, the offensive line also had their fair share of struggles against Buffalo. Wisconsin football allowed one sack, five tackles for loss, and two hurries. The Badgers gave Mordecai solid time in the pocket and allowed him enough of a window to make a play. However, the run blocking was a different story. In particular, the right side of the offensive line, Michael Furtney and Riley Mahlman, struggled in the run game.

Wisconsin Badgers Defense: A

Wisconsin Badgers football

Sep 2, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Buffalo Bulls running back Jacqez Barksdale (20) is tackled during the fourth quarter against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

While there are some Wisconsin fans upset with the team allowing 17 points, the points allowed did not affect how the defense was graded. Wisconsin allowed a massive 51-yard pickup through the air before the Bulls easily scored in the corner of the endzone. The second defensive drive of the game made the Badgers look a tad bit disorganized, but the team responded by playing a heck of a game.

The Wisconsin football team flew around the field on defense and made multiple reads on key plays to provide stops. In particular, Darryl Peterson and Gio Paez played excellent games that prevented the Bulls offense from opening up the scoring.

The only aspect of the game that is preventing the Badgers from receiving the highest grade is their safety play. Kamo’i Latu had a bad game and missed 50% of his tackles. Hunter Wohler recorded 11 total tackles, but also had his fair share of misses in the game which cost the team. Wisconsin will have to sure up their play in the secondary before their next game.

Coaching and Play-Calling: B

There are plenty of times where fans feel as though they knew which play should be called. In the victory over Buffalo, there were multiple instances where the team seemed to take risks that did not quite work out. One instance involved what appeared to be a quarterback draw on third down which resulted in a near sack.

While that particular play and others like it may not have worked out, the attempt is positive. Wisconsin football is aiming to shift their identity this upcoming season. One way the staff plans to do this is by taking risks and utilizing talent in different ways. Successfully doing so will take time for the Badgers, but it will surely pay off in the end.

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Jarrett Guerrera is a graduate of Western New England University with a Bachelor's in English. Jarrett played rugby at the collegiate level, and has been a sports fanatic all his life. Jarrett is also a contributor for Wisconsin Sports Heroics.