Wisco Wednesday: How Will The Badgers Respond?

I told them to run the ball, but they just wouldn’t listen. 

Last weekend was not a fun time to be a Badger fan. All that offseason excitement and optimism came crashing down as Wisconsin lost its 1st real game of the year. All due respect to Buffalo, but a lot of Madison viewed that as more of a preseason contest. There are more issues to clean up than fans were expecting. And I don’t think people realize, Washington State is just a good football team. You can’t make mistakes and beat a good football team. 

Looking Back: Slow starts and turnovers. A losing formula.

Wisconsin 22
Washington State 31

The stat sheet says Wisconsin won, but the score doesn’t.

Wisconsin had:

  • More Passing Yards
  • More Rushing Yards
  • More Yards Per Play
  • More Plays
  • More 1st downs
  • Half as many punts
  • Half as many penalties


They lost the turnover battle 3-0.

So regardless of all the other mistakes made, like not running in the first half, and not giving the ball to Braelon enough, the game was decided by turnovers. It’s plain and simple: don’t turn the ball over.

Bad 1st Half

The slow start was concerning. Wisconsin had 3 good drives end in 3 field goals. That netted them only 9 points in the first half. 9 points is not good enough. The red zone offense may need some tweaking to make the Badgers more effective at finishing drives. Might I suggest RUNNING THE BALL. Wisconsin had only 30 rushing yards in the 1st half. 27 out of 30 of those yards were Tanner Mordecai scrambling. Wisconsin didn’t consider running an option till the second half; which by then it was too late. 

Braelon Allen had 7 carries all game, come on man. 


I have less specific complaints about the defense. I’m mostly happy with 4 sacks, but we still don’t have a forced fumble or interception through 2 games. Wisconsin gave up 332 yards and 32 points, that is not what Badger fans are used to. Jim Leonhard kept this same Washington State team at 250 yards and 17 points. That’s more in line with where I would want Wisconsin to be going forward; how they get there, (besides turnovers) I’m not sure.


There is also an argument to be made that the refs were against Wisconsin as well. I don’t like using that argument because most fans quickly forget calls that went their way. We only remember the calls that went against us. 

There were 2 game-altering, egregiously bad calls.

  1. Wisconsin should’ve been awarded a safety in the 4th quarter to tie the game 24-24 and make it Wisconsin’s ball. It was a safety. That can’t be argued. It was just a blown call. 
  1. After the no-safety call, Wisconsin got the ball back. On the ensuing drive, down 2, Chez Mellusi fumbled… or did he? This play was reviewed and stood as a fumble. But, after the game, it was pretty clear the general public thought this was the wrong call. I think it’s clear that Chez was down before the ball came out, but I wasn’t officiating the game.

At the end of the day though: play football better than the refs ref. 

Around College Football: The West Still Sucks – Probably

Nebraska Needs a QB

Colorado played poorly, and they still crushed Nebraska. 13 to 0 at the half, Buffs up, was not a pretty start for either team. Then Colorado started clicking and pulled away in the second half. Nebraska got some pity points after the outcome was decided. 

Nebraska QB Jeff Sims was 9/15 for 106 yards passing with 67 rushing yards and a TD on the ground. Overall he’s a decent runner, but a poor passer. I’d call that stat sheet: disappointing.

Now, add in the INT and 2 fumbles for 3 total turnovers. That turns disappointing into dreadful. Sims might be the worst QB in the Big Ten through 2 weeks. Rhule should make a change ASAP, but I fear the guys behind Sims are just as uninspiring. 

Iowa Still Can’t Score 25

Sooo, when does Brian Ferentz pack his bags? He was given very clear instructions, score 25 pts per game (avg), and win 7 games, or he doesn’t have a job next year. He even gets to count defensive and special teams’ scores towards the point total.

2 games, 24 and 20 points each, equals 2 failures. And this is non-con season. He should be racking up the score before we get into conference play. We may be treated to Illinois 9 Iowa 6 again. Woo.  Surely they aren’t scoring below 25 because they can’t. No, they must be protesting the point requirement. That has to be it. 

Either way, Brian shouldn’t be OC this year, next year, or any other year. His dad is the head coach. What are we doing, people? 

Illinois was Outmatched in Lawrence

Kansas is better than Illinois. A few years ago that wouldn’t have meant a thing. Today, it’s a disappointment for the B1G West. 

Illinois defense appears to be nowhere near as good as the 2022 unit. The offense struggled all game. QB Luke Altmyer was mediocre. It was a mess. 

Although, Kansas is actually good this year, possibly really really good. So I guess that’s a quality loss for the B1G West. Yay?

The East Had a Bye Week

Michigan had the toughest opponent – UNLV.

OSU and PSU played FCS teams Youngstown State and Delaware respectively.

These weren’t games. They were glorified televised scrimmages at best. 

Looking Forward: Wisconsin Needs to Regroup

  • Odds listed were taken from FanDuel at the time of writing.

Game Preview: Georgia Southern at Wisconsin

Wisconsin -19.5


Camp Randall – Madison, Wisconsin

Kickoff Time:
Saturday – 11:00 AM CT

TV Network:

Who are the Georgia Southern Eagles?

2022 Season:

  • Georgia Southern went 6-7 in 2022
  • They lost to Buffalo in the Camellia Bowl to end the season.
  • They beat Nebraska in Lincoln, ending the Scott Frost era.

Georgia Southern was nothing special last year. But they did beat Nebraska at Nebraska. Hopefully, Wisconsin isn’t as bad in 2023 as Frost’s team was in 2022. 

What they expect for the 2023 Season:

Georgia Southern was a middle-of-the-pack Sun Belt team in 2022, and they figure to be a middle-of-pack team again in 2023. They are currently 6th in odds to win their conference.

There isn’t much to note about the Georgia G5 program. They do pass the ball fairly well, throwing for 344 last week. But that was against UAB; Wisconsin will have a much bigger talent advantage over GA Southern’s roster.

Georgia Southern is currently 2-0 with a win over UAB 49-35 last week, and a 34-0 dismantling of FCS Citadel in week 1.

What to Watch for the Badgers


This game shouldn’t be in question, but regardless, please run Allen more than 7 times. Maybe start with the run game and switch to the pass, instead of what we’ve been doing through 2 weeks.

Mordecai improvements

The passing game was actually much better against WSU than it was against Buffalo. Improvement is a good sign. Now let’s see that improvement continue. This is the perfect game for Mordecai to air it out. After Wisco gets a decent lead, dig into the playbook. Throw the ball downfield, not just more screens. See which receivers he has chemistry with, and find out who might not be on the same page with him. I honestly wouldn’t even flinch if he threw some picks late in this game. I want Mordecai to prove he’s the guy, or fail trying. 

Defensive Turnovers

The Defense needs to improve. Currently, they are not good enough to win the games Wisconsin plans on winning: Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois. And let’s not even think about Ohio State yet. 

The best way the defense can improve their stat sheet: get off the field. i.e. They need some turnovers. 2 games, 0 turnovers. When was the last time that happened in Wisconsin football? Someone should look up the answer and write about it.

Let’s see the defense be more aggressive on Saturday. Take some swings at the ball when bringing down the ball carrier, jump a few routes in coverage, something to generate turnover, please.

Will Pauling

We appear to have established WR1 through 2 games, and its slot receiver Will Pauling. Week 1 he led the team with 55 yards. Week 2 he led the team with 78 yards. It’s nothing crazy, but it’s a pattern. 

The only player with more receptions is Braelon Allen (and that’s all screens). Pauling is a transfer that followed Fickell from Cincinnati. Let’s see if he continues to be the number one guy in week 3.

My Picks*

I have no plans to bet on anything involving this game. I was fairly spot on with how the WSU game was going to go, we were just a little worse on defense than I expected. I expect Georgia Southern to be similar to the Buffalo game but with more offensive success for Wisconsin. Here’s what I would pick –  if I had to.

Take Wisconsin -19.5

Mordecai was better in week 2 than in week 1, even though he faced tougher competition. The improvement at QB continues, and the competition is worse. Wisconsin runs away with this one.

Over 63.5

The defense gives up too many points again, but the offense scores a ton. A perfect formula for the over.

How I did last week:

Picking the Winner: Won – Washington State won
Picking the Spread: Won – Washington State covered
Picking the O/U: Won – The Under hit

I’m sad I was right. But you have to pick with your head, not with your heart. 

Season-Long Record Picking Wisconsin Games:

Picking the Winner: 2-0
Picking the Spread: 1-1
Picking the O/U: 1-1

*These picks are to express my opinion on games from a point spread perspective. I am not advocating for you, the reader, to gamble on any of these games. Please bet responsibly.

Composed Score Prediction:

Georgia Southern 21
Wisconsin 44

Similar to the Buffalo game, but the offense looks better in general. Georgia Southern is trying to win, not just keep up. That leads to them going for it on 4th down often, even though they may be in field goal range. They only score in 7s. Wisconsin scares fans with a slow 1st quarter, settling for 2 field goals on decent drives. Then everything clicks, and the next 5 touchdowns feel easy. 

Oh, and Wisconsin – Run the damn ball.


Want more Walk On Fan? 

Check out our week 2 recap and top 25 here. 

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This article was written by Cole Tollison and edited by Hayden Breene

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