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Braelon Allen Named to PFF’s Top 50 Best College Players List

Wisconsin standout Braelon Allen has been named to Pro Football Focus’ Top 50 College Players List

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Star Wisconsin Football Runningback Braelon Allen
Wisconsin Badgers running back Braelon Allen (0) answers questions during Wisconsin Badgers football media day at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023. - Mike De Sisti / The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Wisconsin football program has prided itself on producing some top-of-the-line running back talent in its storied history.

Junior running back Braelon Allen is currently carrying the torch for RBU and is looking at a potential breakout year under Phil Longo‘s air raid offense. The Fond du Lac native is entering what will likely be his final year as a Badger and has been recognized as one of the top players in the country.

Wisconsin Football Standout Braelon Allen Named to PFF’s Top 50 Players List

On Friday afternoon, Pro Football Focus released its list of the 50 best players in college football, and Allen came in at No. 43. PFF’s Max Chadwick had this to say about UW’s standout tailback.

“Allen is a true workhorse for the Badgers. His 415 carries and 2,500 rushing yards over the past two seasons lead all returning Power Five running backs. Those were also his first two seasons of college football. Not to mention, he’ll be only 19 all of his junior season.”

Allen is coming off of a standout year. The junior tailback notched 1,242 rushing yards, good for the 4th most rushing yards in the Big Ten, and 11 touchdowns in 2022. On top of that, Allen rushed for 847 yards against 8+ man boxes last season, the most of any running back in the nation, per PFF. His productive season would earn him a consensus All-Big Ten second-team nomination.

Allen is primed for a breakout year due to the fact that he’ll be running against less packed boxes. If he can stay healthy, Badger fans may finally see the standout running back at his full potential.

The Wisconsin football program will kick off its 2023 season in a matter of weeks, and Allen will be one of the key players to watch all season long.


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

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Wisconsin Football Announces Bizzare Streaming Location for Rutgers Game

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Wisconsin football; Badgers running back Jackson Acker
Nov 6, 2021; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Jackson Acker (34) carries the ball as Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive back Christian Izien (0) pursues during the second half at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Fickell and the Wisconsin Badgers football team are heading into its bye week with a commendable 3-1 record, having made an impressive 1-0 start in Big Ten play. However, when UW returns for Week 6, they’ll face a rather unconventional streaming situation that fans must adapt to.

On October 7th, Wisconsin will take on Rutgers in a matchup streamed exclusively on Peacock, a popular streaming platform. This game will kick off at 11 AM Central Time, and it’s safe to say that casual fans might be left scrambling if they don’t plan ahead.

Peacock, known for its wide range of content, is making strides in the world of sports streaming. While it might not be the traditional platform for college football games, it offers an opportunity for fans to explore new ways of enjoying their favorite sport.

What This Means for Wisconsin Football Fans

For Wisconsin football enthusiasts, this means making sure they have access to the Peacock streaming service before the game day arrives. It’s a chance to venture beyond the usual cable or network broadcast and try out a different medium for following their beloved Badgers.

The team’s bye week provides fans with ample time to prepare and ensure they don’t miss the action when Wisconsin takes on Rutgers via the Peacock platform. As the Badgers continue their journey in the Big Ten, it’s worth considering adding the platform at $5.99 a month — because they’ll also air several basketball games this winter.

So, mark your calendars, tell your parents ahead of time, and get ready to cheer for Wisconsin Badgers football on Peacock when they face Rutgers in Week 6.

Wisconsin Badgers Football: What Are We DOIN Here?!



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The Implications of Chez Mellusi’s Injury for Wisconsin Football

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Wisconsin football; Badgers running back Chez Mellusi suffers devastating injury
Sep 22, 2023; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Chez Mellusi (1) is taken off the field in a cart after suffering an injury during the second half at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin Badgers football program is heading into the bye week on a high note with a 38-17 win over Purdue. The Badgers showed some flashes of potential in their Big Ten opener, but the biggest storyline coming out of the game was the injury to Chez Mellusi

The injury looked bad on replay, but the cart coming out for the former Clemson transfer, along with an air cast being placed on his leg, heightened fears for the worst. Ultimately, it was confirmed that Mellusi would miss the rest of the 2023 season with a fractured fibula.

Mellusi’s fracture marked his third significant injury during his tenure with the Badgers. He was named the starter in 2021 after transferring in from Clemson but ultimately suffered a season-ending ACL tear. He would return for his 2022 campaign but miss four games in the middle of the season due to a broken arm. Now, just four games into the season, Mellusi will miss the final eight games of the regular season. 

Where Does Wisconsin Football Go From Here?

Without Mellusi, Wisconsin football will look to its young talent to replicate his production, which could be challenging. The fifth-year senior logged 51 carries for 307 yards and four touchdowns through four games. He also tacked on three receptions for 12 yards. 

Mellusi did earn a bulk of the carries through four games, with Braleon Allen dinged up. Luckily, Allen looks to be back to his usual self, so they won’t need to rely on a younger back to take the majority of the carries. Still, the depth is a big question mark for Wisconsin’s running back room now. 

Behind Allen, the Badgers have Jackson Acker, Cade Yacamelli, Grover Bortolotti, and Nate White to fill out the rotation. 

Acker, a redshirt sophomore, has sparingly seen some time on the field as the RB3. The Madison native has appeared in three games thus far, logging eight carries for 31 yards as well as one reception for three yards. As the RB3, he’ll be expected to step up in the wake of Mellusi’s injury when Allen needs a breather. 

Converted safety Cade Yacamelli will be the likely candidate to fill Acker’s shoes in the RB3 role. He hasn’t appeared in any offensive snaps thus far, but he has seen some time on the field with special teams. Reports out of spring and fall camp indicated that Yacamelli had something in the tank as a running back, but it remains to be seen in live game reps. 

It’s not the best situation for Wisconsin to be in, but UW does have plenty of contributors at tailback who could take some snaps if need be. Although this situation is a tough one all around, there could be a bright spot. 

Chez Mellusi Could Return to the Wisconsin Football Program in 2024

Since Mellusi sustained his injury during the fourth game of the season, Badgers fans shouldn’t rule out a sixth-year return from the standout tailback.

Although Mellusi didn’t see starter-level snaps during his time with Clemson, he never used a redshirt year. Plus, his sophomore season was impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, giving him another year of eligibility. 

So, the choice for Mellusi comes down to focusing on his health and looking to sign with an NFL team as a UDFA or moving on to the next phase of his life outside of football. On the other hand, he could return for a sixth year to boost his draft stock. It certainly wouldn’t hurt the Wisconsin Badgers, who is looking at Allen potentially heading to the NFL draft after the season and having an influx of young running backs coming into the fold, such as Darrion Dupree, Dilin Jones, and Gideon Ituka.

Although Mellusi’s injury is devastating for a number of reasons, there is a small bright spot in that we could see him don the cardinal and white one more time. 

Wisconsin football is now headed into the bye week starting 3-1 on the season. They’ll take on Rutgers on October 7th in Madison as both teams look to improve to 4-1. 


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

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Wisconsin Football Defensive Snap Counts & PFF Grades vs. Purdue

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Wisconsin football; Badgers defensive end James Thompson Jr.
Sep 22, 2023; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Wisconsin Badgers defensive end James Thompson Jr. (90) celebrates after sacking Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Hudson Card (1) during the first half at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Fickell and the Wisconsin Badgers football team (3-1, 1-0 B1G) kicked off Big Ten play with a 38-17 victory over Ryan Walters and the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium on Friday night

In this post-game recap, we dissect the performance of the Wisconsin Badgers by analyzing their snap counts and Pro Football Focus (PFF) grades for each position group — and include a few stats that help add context to the ole eye test. 

By analyzing these metrics, we can gain a clearer insight into the individual contributions of each unit to the team’s overall performance. While you can’t take these figures as gospel, this allows us to identify strengths, key contributors, and areas where Wisconsin football excelled.

Let’s dive in. 

Wisconsin Football Defensive Snap Counts & PFF Grades

Wisconsin Badgers football

Purdue Boilermakers wide receiver TJ Sheffield (8) is tackled by a group of Wisconsin Badgers players during the NCAA football game, Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind. Wisconsin Badgers won 38-17.

Defensive Line:

Rodas Johnson – Snap Count: [36] – PFF Grade: [47.4]

James Thomspon – Snap Count: [35] – PFF Grade: [64.6]

Darian Varner – Snap Count: [15] – PFF Grade: [62.1]

***

Gio Paez – Snap Count: [23] – PFF Grade: [44.1]

Curt Neal – Snap Count: [19] – PFF Grade: [49.0]

Ben Barten – Snap Count: [16] – PFF Grade: [59.4]

Inside Linebackers:

Jake Chaney – Snap Count: [71] – PFF Grade: [61.2]

Jordan Turner – Snap Count: [70] – PFF Grade: [48.8]

*Maema Njongmeta – Snap Count: [1?] – PFF Grade: [N/A]

Outside Linebackers:

C.J. Goetz – Snap Count: [53] – PFF Grade: [55.0]

Darryl Peterson – Snap Count: [45] – PFF Grade: [56.6]

Jeff Pietrowski – Snap Count: [14] – PFF Grade: [55.6]

Kaden Johnson – Snap Count: [5] – PFF Grade: [79.1]

Cornerbacks:

Ricardo Hallman – Snap Count: [71] – PFF Grade: [69.2]

Jason Maitre – Snap Count: [69] – PFF Grade: [58.2]

Alexander Smith – Snap Count: [50] – PFF Grade: [74.9]

Nyzier Fourqurean – Snap Count: [21] – PFF Grade: [56.0]

Safeties:

Hunter Wohler – Snap Count: [71] – PFF Grade: [71.6]

Kamo’i Latu – Snap Count: [36] – PFF Grade: [59.7]

Preston Zachman – Snap Count: [61] – PFF Grade: [53.6]

Defensive Analysis:

The most peculiar thing about Wisconsin football beating Purdue on Friday night was senior inside linebacker Maema Njongmeta essentially not playing at all. Full disclosure: I didn’t notice it until somebody pointed it out — but he appeared to see the field for one snap on fourth down late in the game. Luke Fickell said he was available — and I have a hard time believing something more isn’t going on here — but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. 

The safety rotation was also somewhat bizarre to me for several reasons: Travian Blaylock sat in favor of a heavy dosage of Preston Zachman. I was also disappointed that Austin Brown couldn’t build off a strong performance against Georgia Southern. 

I don’t need to get super in-depth on this one, but the defensive front seven was BAD. James Thompson Jr. is quickly becoming a stud on the defensive line — but other than him — there weren’t any individual performances to write home about. Nobody on the Wisconsin football defense registered more than two pressures on the night, and the Badgers finished with 16 total. 

Lastly, a Wisconsin Badgers defense that’s struggled with giving up chunk plays all season (bottom third in the NCAA) also has a huge tackling issue — and was credited with 16 missed tackles as a team. This Wisconsin football defense isn’t talented enough to overcome these sloppy mistakes and is a clear point of emphasis to clean up during the bye week.

Wisconsin Football Offensive Snap Counts & PFF Grades vs. Purdue



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.

Follow this link and use promo code: BADGERNOTES for 25% off your next True Classic order.

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

*Subscribe to BadgerNotes After Dark on Youtube and wherever you find podcasts, the official Wisconsin Badgers podcast of the Big Banter Sports Network.

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