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Bret Bielema is Still Complaining About Loss to Wisconsin Football

Wisconsin football spoiled Illinois homecoming. Burt is still big mad.



Wisconsin football; Badgers wide receiver Skyler Bell catches a pass against Illinois -- and Bret Bielema is still upset
Oct 21, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Skyler Bell (11) catches a pass in front of Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back Tahveon Nicholson (3) during the second half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Days after a fourth-quarter collapse against Wisconsin football, Illinois head coach Bret Bielema is STILL complaining about the officiating. 

On Monday, the former Badgers head coach took to Twitter (X?) to express his frustration about a series of controversial calls that he believes cost his team the game. 

Let’s dive into the borderline pathetic details.

Illinois Homecoming Spoiled by Wisconsin Football

Illinois hosted Luke Fickell and the Wisconsin football program in a highly anticipated game. The Illini were looking to secure their fourth win of the season and have a successful homecoming game. However, the Badgers had other plans and scored 18 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to knock off Illinois 25-21.

The game unfolded with Illinois holding the lead until the final minutes. 

“Controversial calls,” including a targeting penalty on Illinois’ star player Jer’Zhan Newton, was undoubtedly a turning point in the game. But if you have two fully functioning eyeballs and a shred of ability to evaluate a situation objectively, it was the 100% right call. 

But Burt didn’t seem to think so.

Do I believe Newton had malicious intent? No. But by the letter of the law, it was the literal definition of targeting. If you don’t believe me, read the targeting rule for yourself: 

“If a player leads with the crown of his helmet, it’s targeting whether or not the player is defenseless.”

After Newton’s ejection, the Badgers capitalized on the situation. Wisconsin football redshirt freshman quarterback Braedyn Locke stepped up, and the rest is history.

But Bret Bielema’s Whining Didn’t Stop There 

In another response to a Tweet, Bret Bielema took issue with Wisconsin Badgers nickel cornerback Jason Maitre. In the video, Maitre is clapping his hands when he shifts across the formation, leading to an Illinois false start. 

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I take issue with this for a few reasons. First, I have a hard time believing someone five yards behind the line of scrimmage clapping is enough to draw them offside. Why wasn’t it snapped if that was the correct clap for the Illini to snap it on? Also, a disciplined offensive line should know the cadence regardless, correct? 

Also, anytime a player is sent in motion, someone on the Wisconsin football defense must communicate with other defenders because the coverage is changing. 

Seems like Bielema is grasping at straws here. 

I understand that he has beef and wants to defend his players. But him burning a second-half timeout because he was mad at the officials and wanted to complain to the refs is malpractice. Seems like having that timeout at the end of the game would have been helpful, no? 

If Bret Bielema is seeking someone to blame, he should start by looking at the husky man in the mirror.

Luke Fickell Demands More from Wisconsin Football Reserves

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Trevor Lovec is a freelance sports writer, correspondent, and a diehard Northern Iowa fan. He covers Wisconsin football & basketball, plus a little Badgers recruiting for