The Wisconsin Badgers are on their way to their first loss in the Luke Fickell era. Just like last season, Washington State University has determined the pace of the game and has simply outplayed the Badgers.
Notably, the Badgers defense allowed 24 first half points, prompting fans on social media to call for the return of Jim Leonhard to the program. The Wisconsin rushing attack, which put up over 300 yards on the ground last week, put up just 90 rushing yards against Washington.
In other words, the Badgers were outplayed in every facet of the game. They were, however, able to stage a second-half comeback that saw them come within two points of tying the game. However, there were some questionable calls late in the game that swung the momentum back to Washington State.
Wisconsin Badgers Fans Criticize the Officiating in the 31-22 Loss to Washington State
Most notably, it seemed as if the Badgers defense had sacked Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward in his own end zone, which should have resulted in a safety. That would have tied the game. Instead, the officials placed the ball at the one-yard line, giving Washington State a chance to run another play. They ended up punting, but the Badgers offense also failed to take advantage of the favorable field position.
This was because running back Chez Mellusi was ruled to have fumbled the ball on a play where his knee appeared to be on the ground before the ball came out. Wisconsin challenged the call, but it was upheld upon review. Despite this, Badgers fans were not happy with the referees:
Wisconsin 22 vs. Referees 31
Good thing our most exciting season in years got ruined like this.
— Badger Barstool (@badgerbarstool) September 10, 2023
No words how it’s not a safety
— Inside Wisconsin (@InsideWisconsin) September 10, 2023
Did Wisconsin just get absolutely destroyed by the refs on a safety and a fumble?
— Andy Antetokounmpo (@andyfox05) September 10, 2023
When your conference decides this is not a safety, it’s no wonder it’s about to go extinct pic.twitter.com/4FtZQeTRqx
— Carly (@carlyks) September 10, 2023
The refs in the Wisconsin vs Wash St. game are horrible. Missed a safety and then called a fumble on a play when the back was clearly down.
— Anthony Jones (@antjones21) September 10, 2023
— Ben (@bennyb116) September 10, 2023
Refs missed a huge DPI on that 3rd down play…defense needs a stop
— Wisconsin Sports Heroics (@WiSportsHeroics) September 10, 2023
Wisconsin vs refs this is getting ridiculous #badgers
— KennethH2O (@KennethH20_) September 10, 2023
That’s at least 4 points now that have the refs have cost Wisconsin.
Should’ve been two safeties (one for grounding earlier as well).
— Abe Jaroszewski (@AbeJaroszewski) September 10, 2023
Obviously, fans are not happy. However, it should bears mentioning again that Wisconsin did have opportunities that they did not take advantage of. That being said, the officials were a factor in the outcome of the game, and that simply is not the way it should be in sports at any level. Both things can be true.