Wisconsin football: Stock report after Week 4
The Wisconsin Badgers picked up a B1G win on Friday, defeating the Purdue Boilermakers by a score of 38-17. The emphatic road win should make the Badgers feel good as they enter a bye week.
The Badgers actually got outgained by the Boilermakers but still won by 3 scores thanks to 3 turnovers and some clutch 3rd-down conversions.
With a bye week in Week 5, the Badgers will return in Week 6 with B1G play in full swing. Let’s get into the stock report after the latest Badger victory.
Player of the Week: Braelon Allen
Allen finished the game against the Boilermakers with 116 rushing yards on 16 carries with 2 TDs. This was Allen’s 3rd game of the season with 2 rushing TDs and his 2nd game with 100+ rushing yards. Allen also caught 1 pass for 9 yards.
It was immediately clear that Luke Fickell wanted to establish the run early and often on Friday. When Chez Mellusi went down with an injury, Allen had to step up, and he did deliver. Now, we know that Mellusi will be out for a while, so Allen will likely receive an even bigger workload from here out.
Newcomer of the Week: Tanner Mordecai
Mordecai’s first season in Madison has been a mixed bag thus far. However, the Wisconsin QB did what he needed to do against Purdue. The QB completed 17-of-27 passes for 174 yards. What Mordecai did with his legs was huge as well, rushing 14 times for 44 yards and 2 rushing TDs.
Mordecai won’t be getting any Heisman hype or anything, but he does enough for the Badgers to win. Luke Fickell needs a game-manager QB who can make a big play or two, and Mordecai fits the mold perfectly.
Biggest surprise: The offense’s quick start
The Badgers scored touchdowns on the first 3 drives of the game against Purdue. That was a nice surprise considering the Badgers had scored just 14, 9, and 7 first-half points respectively in the first 3 games.
The Badgers did the opposite on Friday, scoring 21 points in the first half. The Badgers looked poised and fully in control during the first half. It was especially encouraging to see the unit look so good in the 1st quarter. The game script was effective and helped the Badgers get and maintain the lead. This is the type of game the Badgers want to play.
Biggest concern: Lack of balance on offense
The Badgers have proven that they can run the ball. But what will happen when the team goes up against the solid defenses of the B1G? The Badgers may not be able to be as effective on the ground against Ohio State or Iowa.
Tanner Mordecai has not thrown for multiple TDs in a game yet for Wisconsin. Mordecai’s high in passing yards this season is just 277, against Washington State. One of the receivers needs to step up as well. Chimere Dike was the leading receiver against Purdue and had just 67 yards.
The run-heavy attack works against lesser opponents, but we already saw what happened when the Badgers played a good defense in Washington State.
Developing trend: Ricardo Hallman’s turnovers
Hallman had an INT against Georgia Southern and then followed that performance up with 2 more INTs against Purdue. Hallman now has 3 on the season after having just 1 all of last season. Granted, Hallman dealt with injuries last year, but it appears that the corner is transforming into a lockdown cover man.
The corner will assuredly be tested during B1G play, but it’s an encouraging start for Hallman. Hallman is still just a redshirt sophomore, so the corner will only get better.
Key stat: 67%
This was the Badgers’ third-down conversion rate. This is very encouraging considering the Badgers went just 3-for-11 against Georgia Southern and 6-for-14 against Washington State. It’s definitely encouraging to see the Badgers fix some of their 3rd-down woes against Purdue.
The Badgers’ performance on 3rd downs will be something to watch for when they return from the bye week.
First impression about Week 6
The Badgers are on bye in Week 5, so we will look ahead to Week 6 instead. When the Badgers return from the bye, Rutgers will head to town. The Scarlet Knights are currently 3-1 and 1-1 in the B1G.
Per ESPN’s FPI, the Badgers have a 78.3% implied win probability. The Badgers’ defense has been much more effective against the run than the pass so far this season. Fortunately, the Scarlet Knights boast one of the worst passing attacks in the nation, currently ranked No. 124 in all of FBS.
The Scarlet Knights’ defense is much better against the pass than the run, allowing just over 200 yards per game through the air and over 100 yards per game on the ground. The Badgers should be able to run in this game, even without Chez Mellusi. Expect Braelon Allen and Tanner Mordecai to make plays with their legs and get the Badgers on the board early.
This will be another game in which the Badgers will try to get an early lead and maintain control of possession. If the Badgers control the time of possession and have an efficient ground game, this should be a winnable game.
This game will likely be a low-scoring affair with 1 or 2 turnovers making all the difference.