The Wisconsin Badgers defeated the Northwestern Wildcats 35-7 Saturday afternoon in Madison. The victory extends Wisconsin’s winning streak to six games. There were a number of standouts in today’s game. Here are my three studs.
Braelon Allen has been an amazing standout and continued it today against the Wildcats. After Chez Mellusi suffered a season ending injury last week against Rutgers, Allen stepped up with 25 carries for 173 yards and three touchdowns. Allen now has six consecutive games of at least 100 yards rushing.
If Wisconsin wants to get to Indianapolis in a few weeks, Braelon Allen will need to continue with these performances. The running back position is razor thin. Wisconsin needs to find a way to keep him healthy. Allen looks like he is one of the best running backs in the Big Ten.
The only defense that can say they are potentially better than Wisconsin’s is Georgia. The Badger defense has not lost is rhythm and has continued to dominate during this winning streak. After not generating many turnovers to begin the year, they have forced 16 turnovers in their last four games. This includes four interception off of the Wildcats quarterbacks.
Just like Braelon Allen, the defense needs to continue this pace if they want to play in the Big Ten Championship. The Badgers can’t sleep on Nebraska and Minnesota. The duo of Leo Chenal and Jack Sanborn was great again as well. They combined for 24 tackles and six tackles for loss.
In a roller coaster sophomore season, Graham Mertz is playing better and it looks like he is starting to settle in now. After throwing six interception in his first three games, he has only thrown two since. Mertz is taking care of the ball better and is letting his reads come to in. He is not locked in on a receiver. He looks more comfortable and more like the quarterback we have expected him to be.
However, he does need to continue to take care of the ball. He does continue to force balls in when there is no need to. His interception against the Wildcats was a great example. Mertz is a young quarterback and I believe he will learn as his career continues. He will have to continue this pace of play for the Badgers to be successful.
The Badgers will conclude their home schedule next week as they battle the Nebraska Cornhuskers. At 3-7, the Cornhuskers will show up to play. The future of their head coach Scott Frost is up in the air after next season. Wisconsin needs to continue to win in order to be in the Big Ten Championship.