Badger Musings: Fourth Quarter Saves Axe & Season
As the fourth quarter began in Camp Randall on Saturday, the thought ran through my head that Badgers were the next top team to go down by an unranked team. We saw it happen to Clemson, Louisville and Texas A&M (Remember when they were fourth in the College Football Playoff and lost all their SEC games after it? Good times). Badgers were down and looked lifeless at times, yet their seniors came up in a major way to keep their College Football Playoff hopes alive.
Kudos to Badgers secondary
Wisconsin has been known for strong secondary personnel in the past, yet I’m not sure if there’s been a better collective group of players in that defensive backfield. D’Cota Dixon, Sojurn Shelton, Leo Musso and Derrick Tindal Jr. have all came up with major plays this season. Shelton had perhaps the biggest one with an interception of Mitch Leidner that turned around the entire ball game. Wisconsin trailed 17-10 in the fourth, and he nearly took it to the house. Shortly thereafter, Corey Clement ran into end zone to tie up the game.
Jazz’s Jet Sweep
If Shelton’s interception started to the turn around the ‘momentum’ in the fourth quarter, Jazz Peavy pushed all the way over to Wisconsin’s side. Wisconsin ran a jet sweep, a play they’ve ran really well at different points of the season, to complete perfection in the fourth for 71 yards. Minnesota has been susceptible to the big play all season, and Wisconsin finally hit one in the fourth. Clement would once again score from the goal line to put Wisconsin ahead for the first time since the first quarter. Peavy has been one of the better player for Badgers offense this season.
Bart Houston’s redemption
In the third game of the year, Paul Chryst decided to go with a two-quarterback system with Bart Houston and redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook. That had to sting for Houston, but he never seemed to be bothered by it. Houston always took it in stride and never showed signs of being unhappy with the situation. On Senior Day, he got a chance to shine with Hornibrook going out with a head injury. Houston played great with nine completions on 14 attempts for 123 yards. He didn’t do much, but Houston did just enough to be a productive quarterback for this Badgers team.
The Ohio State regret
A part of me wonders if this Badgers team wishes they were playing Ohio State again next Saturday. They came so close to beating Buckeyes at Camp Randall that you have to believe Wisconsin wants another shot at the top-ranked team. Badgers led in the first half by double-digits, and if not for an amazing J.T. Barrett performance, Wisconsin might be the top ranked team. Wisconsin also knows a Big Ten Championship win over Penn State means a hell of a lot less than one versus Ohio State. Hope that doesn’t affect their spirit.
Wisconsin plays in the Big Ten Championship versus Penn State. This will be Badgers fourth Big Ten Championship game in its sixth year of existence. This is the first meeting between Chryst and James Franklin as coaches and the two teams first meeting since 2012-13. Nittany Lions have a two-game winning streak versus Badgers.