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Wisconsin Football Report Card From 35-14 Win Over Georgia Southern



Wisconsin football; Badgers running back Braelon Allen
Sep 16, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Braelon Allen (0) rushes for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t pretty, but the Wisconsin football program improved to 2-1 following a 35-14 win over the Georgia Southern Eagles

Like last week’s matchup against Washington State, it was a tale of two halves for Wisconsin. The first half was a very poor showing, but UW made the necessary adjustments at halftime and looked a bit more polished in the second half. 

Here are my grades for Wisconsin’s offense, defense, and special teams from the win over Georgia Southern.

Wisconsin Football Offense Grade: B-

Had I been grading Wisconsin’s offense on the first-half performance, this would have been significantly lower. However, UW’s offense looked much more polished in the second half.

This game was a bit of a coming-out party for Tanner Mordecai, who logged 19 completions on 30 attempts for 236 yards through the air. He also registered 36 rushing yards and two touchdowns on seven carries. After a couple of lackluster performances in weeks one and two, this could be a sign of things to come from Mordecai. 

The rushing attack stood out the most in this game, especially in the second half. Chez Mellusi took a bulk of the reps, logging 15 carries for 61 yards and a touchdown. On top of that, he had one of the day’s biggest highlights with a nasty hurdle over a Georgia Southern defender.

Braelon Allen has been a bit slow to start the 2023 season, but he got something going on Saturday. Although he didn’t log his first carry until the second quarter, the Fond Du Lac native finished with 12 carries for 94 yards and two touchdowns. 

If the second half is any indication of what is to come for Wisconsin football, you have to feel good about the offense despite early struggles. 

Wisconsin Football Defense Grade: B-

Folks who watch the stat sheets will be impressed by Wisconsin’s defense forcing six turnovers on the day, but don’t let that deceive you; there are still some very apparent kinks for UW to work out. 

Going into this matchup, I wrote about how Wisconsin’s secondary would be challenged in this matchup due to Georgia Southern’s emphasis on the passing game. However, I didn’t expect the Badgers to give up as many chunk plays as they did. Fifth-year quarterback Davis Brin torched UW’s secondary at some moments. He finished the first half with over 250 passing yards and inevitably came away with 383 yards and a touchdown through the air on 33 completions. 

It wasn’t all bad, though, as Wisconsin football did a good job of causing some disruption in the backfield. Darryl Peterson deserves his flowers, as he logged two tackles for loss and two sacks on the day. You would like Wisconsin to bring more consistent pressure, but that aspect had some positives.

Again, there are still plenty of kinks to work out for Mike Tressel’s defense, but they did enough to help UW come away with a victory. 

Wisconsin Football Special Teams Grade: A

It wasn’t an awe-inspiring performance by Wisconsin’s special teams, but there weren’t any mistakes, and that’s about all you can ask for. 

Nathanial Vakos, arguably the Badgers’ MVP last week, didn’t have any field goal attempts on Saturday, but he did hit all five of his extra-point attempts. The Ohio transfer has yet to miss a kick this season.

Also liked what I saw from Atticus Bertrams. He had some good punts, and his consistency has been a bright spot for Wisconsin thus far.

The Wisconsin football program will begin conference play next weekend as they travel to West Lafayette for a matchup against Purdue.

Wisconsin Football Defeats Georgia Southern: Here’s What Stood Out

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Jake Maier is the managing editor and publisher at He has provided coaching and editorial support to numerous writers in his role, contributing significantly to the platform's growth. His expertise extends to Wisconsin Badgers football, basketball, and recruiting coverage. Jake's previous bylines can be found at Fansided and Wisconsin Sports Heroics.