Grading Wisconsin’s no-show against Minnesota
I am going to eschew the normal grading procedures here because this game does not deserve that full breakdown. This game was an “F” all-around. Let’s discuss why! First of all: the offense didn’t score a single touchdown. That’s embarrassing. The team rushed for 62 yards…total. That’s embarrassing. Graham Mertz threw an interception and only completed 55% of his passes. Embarrassing.
The defense, while better, didn’t do enough to win either. They did score Wisconsin’s only touchdown of the game which, lol to the offense again. However, they continually brought pressure which didn’t get home. The Gophers, especially their running backs, did a great job of pass protection and gave statue Tanner Morgan enough time to get his passes off. Morgan wasn’t electric, but he was much better than Mertz and like the old answer to the question “how fast do you have to be to escape a bear?” Morgan just had to be better, or faster if a bear were chasing them, than Mertz.
Special teams brought nothing to the table, which has too often been the case. There was a missed 48-yard field goal, which shouldn’t have been attempted, there was the debacle near the end of the game where the punt unit got sent out on fourth down with the Badgers down two scores and then the punt unit got a false start penalty…and then Chryst had to call timeout only to send his offense back out there. At least Mertz converted the fourth down!
Chryst was outcoached by P.J. Fleck which is just a disgusting thought to have, let alone type on a blog for people to read. Jim Leonhard kept bringing pressure on defense even when it wasn’t getting home. Nebraska’s game plan of sneaking a tight end out off of play action was used to great effect by the Gophers and TE Brevyn Spann-Ford. Chryst took all of the blame for the special teams snafu during his post game press conference, but special teams coach Chris Haering didn’t exactly cover himself in glory on the day.
Wisconsin had eight penalties on the day (Minnesota had seven) and the refs were a God damned disaster all game. Multiple questionable calls, against both teams, marred the first half and much of the second half in what was supposed to be a big time rivalry game. I don’t know what to do about the officiating in the Big Ten, but something needs to change because it is generally baffling, at best, and downright harmful to the game at worst every damn week.