After letting a 17-point lead evaporate last weekend against Nebraska, the Wisconsin Badgers football team (1-1 Big Ten, 4-2 overall) had put itself in a must-win situation as it came into its Big Ten home opener Saturday against Illinois (0-2 Big Ten, 2-4 overall).
Just five days after Nebraska’s second-half comeback left the Badgers reeling, Wisconsin is looking to regain some of the bravado that put it on the map as a perennial Big Ten contender and catapulted it to two consecutive Rose Bowl Games.
Defense wins championships. This antiquated cliché and go-to slogan for mediocre sports commentators is believed to still be relevant in today’s NCAA, but if you watched any college football last weekend, you saw that offense has taken over.
As a sports fan, it’s much easier to look at things from a glass-half-full perspective when discerning the prospects of the ongoing season. Fans of this year’s Wisconsin football team (0-1 Big Ten, 3-2 overall) can take a lesson in optimism from head coach Bret Bielema, who gave off a heavy dose of good vibes at his weekly Monday press conference following a crushing 30-27 defeat to No. 22 Nebraska (1-0, 4-1) Saturday.
LINCOLN, Neb.—The Badgers struggled in short-yardage situations throughout the non-conference season. Saturday night, against No. 22 Nebraska (1-0 Big Ten, 4-1 overall), it cost Wisconsin a chance to win its Big Ten opener.
The amount of criticism senior Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez received last year was arguably at its peak after their 48-17 defeat in Camp Randall Stadium on Oct. 1st, 2011. His one-and-a-half quarters of solid play was short-lived to say the least. The Cornhuskers jumped out to a 14-7 lead just five seconds into the second quarter, but by the time “Jump Around” came on, the game was already decided.
Saturday was a day of firsts for redshirt freshman quarterback Joel Stave. Making his first collegiate start, the Greenfield, Wis. native threw his first touchdown (and interception) and took a big hit from a defender for the first time since high school.
Well, it’s official. Redshirt freshman Joel Stave will be taking the reigns of the struggling Wisconsin (2-1 overall) offense Saturday morning against Texas El-Paso (1-2 overall) in the team’s final non-conference game of the season.
Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, and for Wisconsin football (2-1 overall) it took all the luck under the lights of Camp Randall Stadium to come up with a heart-stopping 16-14 win over Utah State (2-1 overall) Saturday.
As a sports fan, you start to build up some expectations for the teams you support. After two straight Big Ten championships and Rose Bowl appearances, Badger football fans have come to expect consistent success.