Heading into the highly anticipated season opener against Buffalo, the Wisconsin football team was expected to roll through the Bulls. However, the Badgers struggled in their first game under the new coaching staff. Regardless of the score, Wisconsin was able to produce on both sides of the ball in the end. Plenty of players were able to get in on the actions against the Bulls for Wisconsin. In particular, three players made incredible impacts while another three struggled in their first outing of the season.
Wisconsin Football Studs and Duds: Who Made the Biggest Impact During Week One?
In the 38-17 win over the Buffalo Bulls, the Wisconsin football team had plenty of ups and downs. The first half of the game in particular was not a great showing for the Badgers, but the struggles are expected. A new-look team with an entirely different staff and culture takes time to develop, and evidently it takes longer than half a game to do so. However, despite the slow start, three players were able to light a fire underneath the Badgers all game.
The Studs: Chez Mellusi, Jordan Turner, Hunter Wohler
It would be impossible to put together a list of Wisconsin football studs without including arguably the top performer for the Badgers. Chez Mellusi displayed excellent speed and athleticism against the Bulls as he recorded 157 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. Mellusi is a quick one-cut running back who excels at making defenders miss in the open field. Braelon Allen also had himself a game with 141 yards and two touchdowns. However, it is the 89-yard touchdown run that sets Mellusi apart against the Bulls.
On the defensive side of the ball, both Jordan Turner and Hunter Wohler canvased the field for the Badgers. The duo combined for 19 tackles, including 17 solo tackles, as each player flew across the field. Turner solidified himself in the middle of the field as a dominant linebacker all afternoon. The veteran blew-up multiple screens and made plenty of major stops on third down.
The Junior safety, Wohler, nearly matched his solo tackle total (13) from last season in his first game of 2023. Wohler defended over the middle of the field perfectly for the Badgers and provided a much-needed safety blanket for the defense. The safety also displayed his ability to make a play on both the ball and the ball-carrier as he stuffed multiple run attempts.
The Wisconsin Football Duds: Tanner Mordecai, Bryson Green, The Offensive Line
Clearly not every player can have a great game. At times, good players are going to struggle when they are expected to light up the other team. The game against Buffalo was an example of that for some of the biggest names on the Badgers. Veteran quarterback Tanner Mordecai has had plenty of success across his collegiate career thus far, but Wisconsin football presents his biggest challenge yet. Mordecai is still trying to find his footing in the new offense.
Like Mordecai, both Bryson Green and the entire Badgers offensive line also struggled to find their footing against the Bulls. Green was able to haul in four receptions for 23 yards but struggled most of the game to create separation against his defenders. Part of the reason why Green, and the other Badger receivers, struggled against Buffalo was largely due to the offensive line play.
The Wisconsin football team allowed a sack and five tackles for loss, along with two interceptions, during their game against Buffalo. It is hard to call the offensive line a “dud” after the team scored 38 points. However, the first half of the game consisted of blocks being shed and defenders making their way into the backfield. If the Wisconsin Badgers hope to dominate this season, they will have to turn up their offensive line play in the future.
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