The Luke Fickell era at Wisconsin is off to a pretty good start. Wisconsin beat Rutgers by a score of 24-13 Saturday to improve to 4-1 on the year. It has been a good turnaround for Fickell and company. This time last season, the Badgers were 2-3 after a tough loss to Illinois in Madison.

Braelon Allen had another productive game on the ground. Jackson Acker and Tanner Mordecai also got involved in the running game. The only blemish on Fickell’s record at Wisconsin so far is the loss to Washington State.

Wisconsin is back home in Week 7 with Iowa coming to town. Here’s how the Badgers look through their first five games.

Player of the Week: Braelon Allen

Tanner Mordecai didn’t have a bad game by any means, but the star for the Wisconsin offense was Braelon Allen once again. Allen could’ve hit the transfer portal after Paul Chryst was let go but decided to stick things out with Fickell and the new coaching staff. It’s safe to say that Allen made the right decision.

Allen had 101 yards rushing with 1 touchdown on the day. When people hear air raid offense, they may not think that the running game is a priority. Phil Longo stressed during the offseason that Allen will be an important part of it regardless.

Allen had his second-straight 100-yard game on the ground, which is always a good sign.

Newcomer of the Week: Will Pauling

Will Pauling decided to follow Fickell from Cincinnati this offseason. Pauling ended up leading Wisconsin in receiving yards in the win.

Pauling finished the game with 68 yards receiving on 8 receptions and has surpassed his career high in receiving from his time with the Bearcats. The Wisconsin wideout has 243 yards receiving through five games. Pauling has been a constant at wideout, leading all Badgers wideouts in receiving as well.

Biggest Surprise: Tanner Mordecai’s slow start at Wisconsin

Mordecai has not had an easy transition to B1G football. His numbers so far are 1,022 yards passing with 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He has scored 4 touchdowns on the ground, but the passing numbers have not been too impressive.

Mordecai had a great last season with SMU, accounting for 35 total touchdowns with 3,524 yards passing. The Badgers may need more consistency from him if the running game struggles.

Iowa is up next on the schedule and Ohio State will be a good measuring stick for this team as well. The Buckeyes are allowing the fourth fewest rushing yards per game in the B1G with 106.4. The Hawkeyes’ calling card is their defense as usual. Iowa is allowing 16.3 points per game, which ranks fifth in the conference.

Biggest Concern: Abysmal pass defense

Wisconsin’s pass defense is a problem that will need to be solved at some point. The Badgers have allowed the most passing yards per game (247.2) in the B1G through five games.

The Buckeyes are traveling to Madison soon, who average the most passing yards per game in the B1G with 302.8. If things don’t change soon before that game, it could be another one-sided Ohio State win much like last season.

Developing Trend: Yards per play on first downs trending downward

Something that has become more and more of a problem through each game is Wisconsin’s output on first downs. The first game of the Fickell era went well in that area, with Wisconsin averaging 8.3 yards on its first-down plays. That number has steadily gotten worse from week to week.

The Badgers averaged more than 7 yards in each of the next two games, but they’ve been under 5 yards per play on first downs in each of the last two games. Iowa’s defense will make the Badgers pay if they can’t stay ahead of the chains.

Key Stat: 17 points scored on offense

Without Ricardo Hallman’s 95-yard pick-6, that’s how many points the Wisconsin offense would have scored against the Scarlet Knights. The offense looked like it was run by Paul Chryst on Saturday.

Fans were treated to a disappointing game on offense in Week 6. The team definitely took a step back in that regard. Badgers’ fans will be hoping that this doesn’t become a trend down the stretch.

First impression about Week 7: Wisconsin welcomes Deacon Hill back to Madison

Wisconsin and Iowa meet in Madison during Week 7. The Iowa offense will not have the same man under center with Cade McNamara expected to miss the rest of the season with a leg injury.

Deacon Hill is familiar with the Badgers as he played there from 2021-2022 before transferring to Iowa. Hill has played in five games with one start this season and the defense could tee off on him.

This B1G West matchup could have conference championship implications.