The Wisconsin Badgers extended their home winning streak against non-conference opponents to 29 by defeating BYU on Saturday in a 27-17 victory. The Badger’s (7-2, 4-1) are without question, the second-best team in the Leaders Division behind the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Wisconsin looked like one of the top all-around college football teams Saturday after knocking the Cougar’s out of BCS contention. Takeaways from Wisconsin’s win over the weekend comprise of positives from both sides of the ball and moreover, the crucial play from the special teams department.
The defense’s vital ability to win the battle in the trenches by slowing down the high-powered and fast-paced BYU offense was significant. Chris Borland gave the defense a huge confidence boost returning to the starting line-up after being sidelined by a hamstring injury suffered in the game against Illinois. The inside linebacker was dealt the tough task of containing the Cougar’s dual-threat quarterback, Taysom Hill. He absolutely smothered Hill all afternoon long, holding him to just 53 yard rushing and finished with a team high 13 tackles and 2 sacks. Chris Borland is doing more than enough this season to make a strong argument for receiving the Butkus Award.
James White asserted himself as the No.1 running back scoring all 3 of Wisconsin’s touchdowns and accumulating 194 total yards. White as shown the ability to perform consistently in both the passing and running game. Melvin Gordon is still an explosive offensive threat and opposing defense’s worst fears come to life when both running backs take the field.
Another offensive weapon that is starting to unfold and bring stability to the Badger’s offense is tight end Jacob Pedersen. Joel Stave is beginning to find the soft hands of Pedersen more frequently and Stave’s trust in him continues to increase each week.
The biggest question Wisconsin football has dealt with this season has been in the field goal kicking department. That question may have finally been answered by the leg of Jack Russell. Russell finished going 2 of 2, with his longest field goal coming from 38 yards out. Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come as long as he can stay consistently reliable.
Wisconsin football continues to be snubbed by the BCS and for the second consecutive week in a-row, the Badgers remain ranked No.22. Barring a catastrophic collapse, the Badger’s should win their last 3 games of the season and finally receive the recognition they deserve from the committee, asserting themselves as a legitimate BCS contender.