Wisconsin football: Stock report after Week 9
Wisconsin still wasn’t able to break the losing streak against Ohio State. The Badgers haven’t managed to get over the hump and beat the Buckeyes since 2010 and that didn’t change on Saturday.
The Wisconsin offense was held to 10 points by the Ohio State defense with Tanner Mordecai still nursing an injury. The offense didn’t do themselves any favors and struggled to score after Ohio State had 3 turnovers.
There is still hope of reaching a bowl game Luke Fickell in year one. Ohio State has had Wisconsin’s number in recent memory, but this was the closest the team has been to beating the Buckeyes in a while. This loss could hurt for a long time.
Here’s how Wisconsin’s stock is looking heading into Week 10:
Player of the Week: Maema Njongmeta
It’s only right that Wisconsin’s Player of the Week was on the defensive side of the ball. Maema Njongmeta was a tough force to stop.
Njongmeta had 10 total tackles, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery, and 2.5 tackles for loss. The veteran linebacker had a career-high in tackles last season and has stepped up as a leader on Fickell’s defense. After Saturday’s game Njongmeta has 41 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and 2 fumble recoveries.
Njongmeta is starting to look like he will be the next great player to come out of Madison on defense. In a perfect world, the Wisconsin offense would have had more playmakers in this game.
Freshman of the Week: Atticus Bertrams
No this isn’t about Iowa. Freshman punter Atticus Bertrams is a native of Sydney, Australia and did a great job of flipping field position.
Bertrams had six punts for 229 yards and two of them landed inside the Ohio State 20-yard line. The Wisconsin offense didn’t look too great against Ohio State, but at least Bertrams was able to contribute.
Special teams play a big role and should be talked about more often. Making sure that you make big plays on special teams is crucial at home. Unfortunately, Wisconsin couldn’t score enough points to keep up with Ohio State.
Biggest Surprise: Braedyn Locke stands tall against Ohio State
Many people may have written off Wisconsin after Tanner Mordecai went down with an injury. Locke limited the turnovers and had 165 yards passing with 1 touchdown. He also had 14 yards rushing.
It’s no easy task to go up against the Ohio State defense early into your college career. Locke may not have been able to carry the offense in Week 9, but fans should be feeling good about their backup QB down the stretch.
Indiana, Northwestern, Nebraska, and Minnesota are the last four games on the schedule.
Biggest Concern: Braelon Allen is latest injury at key position
The injuries just keep on coming for Wisconsin. Braelon Allen was the latest Wisconsin player to pick up an injury against Ohio State.
The team has already dealt with injuries to Mordecai and Chez Mellusi. The RB depth has now started to be affected by injury too. Wisconsin fans better be praying that Allen is able to make a quick recovery from his injury because the running game is still an important part of the Badgers’ offense.
The rest of Wisconsin’s schedule looks promising, but things are going to get tougher with all of the injuries at key positions like quarterback and running back.
Developing trend: Braedyn Locke showing promise as Wisconsin backup QB
Locke had to take over for Mordecai in the game against Iowa and has done enough to keep Wisconsin in games. Locke has 527 yards passing, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception in 4 overall appearances.
Locke probably didn’t expect to see this much time in his first season with Wisconsin, but he has been dependable. The Mississippi State transfer stepped into his role halfway through the year and has shown promise.
Wisconsin should be able to make a bowl game with Locke under center if Mordecai is sidelined for a significant period of time.
Key Stat: 3 turnovers and 3 points
Wisconsin did something that you need to do to beat a top-ranked team like Ohio State. Wisconsin forced the Buckeyes into committing three turnovers within the first 30 minutes of the game. Unfortunately, Wisconsin only managed to score three points heading into halftime.
Wisconsin was already going to be the underdog in this scenario. However, only managing three points on the other team’s mistakes didn’t help either. Despite Kyle McCord’s 2 interceptions and 1 fumble, Wisconsin couldn’t capitalize.
If Wisconsin’s offense was even a little competent in the game, things could have been very different.
First Impressions about Week 10
Wisconsin faces Indiana for the first time since 2020. Michael Penix Jr. missed that game with an injury for the Hoosiers, but the Badgers still lost 14-6.
Wisconsin won’t be playing a surging Indiana this time around as the Hoosiers come into the game on a four-game losing streak. Indiana once again has one of the worst defenses in the conference.
The Badgers could use this game to correct their offensive issues against a struggling team in the Hoosiers.