Badgers Snatch Big Ten West & The Axe in Dominating Fashion
Wisconsin Badgers went to Minnesota to take on their biggest rival, the Golden Gophers. ESPN College Gameday was there with former Gophers’ receiver Eric Decker picking games. Everyone picked Minnesota. Lee Corso donned the Gopher head, Desmond Howard and Pat McAfee also picked Minnesota. At that point, I weirdly felt good about the Badgers. This wasn’t a ‘nobody believes in us’ game, rather, an example of what happens when a team gets pumped full of hype then cannot live up to it. Wisconsin rolled Minnesota to take back Paul Bunyan’s Axe with a dominating 38-17 victory.
Player of the Game: Zack Baun – Not to say I called it, but I called it. In the preview, I thought Baun could have a day off the edge. Minnesota lost their left tackle early in the game, and Baun took advantage. He had nine total tackles, two sacks and 2.5 TFL’s. This is a great performance by Baun, a senior, making sure the Axe came back to Madison. He was a monster off the edge.
Honorable Mention: Jack Coan – I said this on the podcast this week, but Jack Coan is good at football. He went 15/22 with 285 yards through the snow and cold yesterday. Sure, 70 yards of that happened on a screen play with Garrett Groshek but regardless of that, Coan did great in this game. Minnesota did a good job of shutting down Jonathan Taylor but that didn’t matter as Coan found one of his receivers regularly.
One Thing I Loved – Paul Chryst was a goddamn animal: On Twitter, I like to say ‘BLANK PLAYER IF YOU’RE NASTY.’ Paul Chryst was nasty on Saturday. The playcalling of Chryst led Wisconsin to score 35 points in 25 plays on five straight drives. That is pure domination. Minnesota’s defense is not heralded but they’re not scrubs. Chryst bullied the Gophers all over the field.
Another Thing I Liked: Don’t sleep on Caesar Williams’ day – While there will be hype around Baun, Coan, Quintez Cephus, and Chris Orr, people should realize the day that Caesar Williams, cornerback, for Wisconsin had against Minnesota’s talented receivers. He had four pass deflections and an interception. That is a hell of a day versus some of the best receivers in college football.
Next up: Wisconsin will go to the Big Ten Championship to play Ohio State. My assumption is the stadium will be filled with Buckeyes’ fans who are ready for their victory lap before the national semifinal in a few weeks. It is a massive uphill climb for the Badgers, but it’s not impossible. Ohio State taking the foot off the gas is something that could happen.