Washington State is certainly a step up from a week ago. A team that Wisconsin should still be able to handle. A slow start followed by a very sloppy performance, Wisconsin was upset at home. Here are three things from the loss.
A game that was statistically dominated by Wisconsin, the main reason for the loss is the unforced errors. Two missed field goals, penalties, and turnovers. 11 penalties for 106 yards made the offense play from behind the sticks all day. If that wasn’t bad enough, how about an interception and then fumble on the same play that led to a Washington State touchdown. When the Cougars tried to return the same favor, Wisconsin would fumble the ball a couple plays later.
11 penalties, 106 yards.#Badgers
— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) September 10, 2022
It’s very odd to see a Badger team struggle in these areas. Usually a very well disciplined team, they beat themselves today.
From the first possession, you could see how the offense would be in the first half. Braelon Allen had no space, the offensive line struggled, and the result was a whole lot of plays and no points. The only bright spot of the offense in the first half was Graham Mertz, who responded with some nice throws after a few tough plays.
I think a two play sequence can sum up the first half offense for the Badgers. A third and short saw a pulling guard trip on his own feet resulting in a loss of yards. Followed by a fourth down play action that had no chance of converting. The first 30 plays of the game for the Badgers went for just 100 yards compared to Washington State who ran 13 for 108.
Wisconsin dominated time of possession and yards but that doesn’t matter if you can’t avoid penalties, turnovers, and missed kicks. I sometimes worry about this offense, and more specifically the offensive line. I can’t remember the last time I saw so many holding calls from a Wisconsin offensive line. They continued to shoot themselves in the foot.
One positive from this game was the play of the secondary. With the injury to safety Hunter Wohler, there was some concern with the secondary depth. Someone who really stepped up today was Max Lofy. The dime cornerback came away with his first career interception, an impressive open field tackle, and even covered a punt well.
Washington State found themselves backed up before halftime and a few others from the secondary made some sweet plays. Kamo’i Latu, the transfer from Utah, came up with a huge sack on a safety blitz. Followed up by a great pass breakup from Kentucky transfer Cedrick Dort Jr. UCLA transfer Jay Shaw had an interception as well, but unfortunately fumbled on the same play.
Quick shoutout to Graham Mertz, who I thought played very well today. I also expect to see a lot more of Keontez Lewis who had a good game.
Wisconsin will host New Mexico State next weekend, followed by traveling to Ohio State to open up Big Ten play. If these guys can’t rally after this disappointing loss, we are in for a long season Badger fans.
Follow me on Twitter @gamble_griffin3 for all Wisconsin Badger game recaps and follow us @WiSportsHeroics . Click below to read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest in Wisconsin sports! Also, check out our merch store for some amazing WSH merchandise!