Despite their convincing 31-14 victory over Illinois Saturday, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema is still looking to work out his team’s kinks.
“Obviously, we went through some speed bumps in the first half and a little bit in the third quarter,” Bielema said at his weekly press conference Monday. “But when you sit back and look at it, I do think our team, for however many weeks in a row, has taken a step forward again to get to 4-2.”
Senior running back Montee Ball had arguably his most impressive performance of the season, rushing for 116 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.
His 6.1 yards per carry against the Fighting Illini was a season high. Combining his effort with that of junior running back James White, who put together a 104 all-purpose effort, and the Badgers’ running game looked to be at its healthiest point all season.
“They’re frustrated because we’re a 4-2 team,” Bielema said. “They want to be better than that. Those guys love to compete for one another, no one enjoys it better than those guys.”
Coming up next for the Badgers will be a tough Big Ten road test in West Lafayette, Ind., against the Purdue Boilermakers.
As two of only four teams in the Leaders Division that are eligible to advance to the Big Ten Championship Game, this weekend’s matchup figures to weigh heavily on who will be going to Indianapolis in December.
“Purdue is going to prepare and do everything they can do to beat us on Saturday, and we will do the same,” Bielema said. “While you’re trying to establish yourself in this league, it’s important to have success in all Big Ten games.”
The Badgers men’s hockey team is entering the first week of their regular season amidst some scandal, as freshman forward Nic Kerdiles was ruled ineligible for the season by the NCAA due to an investigation about his amateur status. Kerdiles, one of the top amateur recruits in the nation last year, was projected to be on Wisconsin’s top line to start the season.
“The investigation of the NCAA is an amateur status issue,” head coach Mike Eaves said. “The withholdings are for a year, and we’re appealing the decision immediately.”
Men’s Cross Country
The men’s cross country team will be preparing for its biggest home meet of the season this week in the Adidas Invitational. Ranked as the top team in the country, the Badgers will be hosting a field of teams that includes five other top 10 nationally ranked teams, and 19 of the 30 teams in the coachs’ poll.