Wisconsin 61, Central Michigan 0— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) October 12, 2019
Wisconsin 35, Michigan 14
Wisconsin 38, Michigan State 0
Send us the deed, @UpperPeninsula
Scheduling for the 2019 Wisconsin Badgers Football Team featured three Michigan teams. Those being with non-conference foe, the Central Michigan Chippewas out of the MAC Conference, followed by home matchups between divisional conference members, the Michigan Wolverines & the Michigan State Spartans.
Not to throw the state of Michigan under the bus, but if you add in additional non-conference shutouts against the Kent State Golden Flashes & South Florida Bulls, and you’re looking at a perfect season thus far for Bucky.
What came to be as the unexpected this season was the strength of the Wisconsin Badgers defense, which ranks #1 overall in total defense in all of FBS. Through Week 7, Wisconsin has held opponents to 3.09 yards per play, and only 178.6 yards a game (Source: NCAA.) Defensive Coordinator Jim Leonard has turned this Badger Defense into one of the best units in the country – a lot of these players being in-state talent and former prep stars across the state of Wisconsin, while blue chip programs like Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia, and Clemson have their pick at all of the 5 star recruits and big money in their facilities to attract the talent they have on a regular basis.
Wisconsin came off of a 8-5 record in 2018, where they had struggles with consistency on offense behind a lack of leadership and injures of a quarterback. While Jonathan Taylor was the featured back in the offense, Wisconsin had a carousel under center between redshirt junior Alex Hornibrook (since has transferred to Florida State) and sophomore Jack Coan. The Badgers took defeats at home to BYU and Minnesota last season, as well as Northwestern, Michigan, and Penn State on the road. Last year’s struggles and experience has proven valuable to Jack Coan this season, as he has been efficient and has shown he can be trusted with the ball.
Going back to Jonathan Taylor; the Heisman hopeful had a pedestrian kind of day against the Michigan State Spartan Defense, but still was able to punch in a couple of touchdown runs. Taylor is likely destined for the NFL draft following this season, but before he does that, he is knocking on the door in the record books, chasing a lot of the records held by Heisman winner Ron Dayne. He remains only 4 yards off of 5,000 rushing yards for his career, a record he will likely shatter on his first career against Illinois next week.
Looking ahead for the Badgers, they head to Champaign next week to face an underwhelming Illinois Fighting Illini squad before the biggest test of the season, when the Badgers head to Columbus to battle one of the best teams in the country, in the Ohio State Buckeyes. Should the Badgers be able to knock off the Buckeyes and run the table the rest of the way (home against Iowa, at Nebraska, home against Purdue, and at Minnesota) – there would be likely another crack at the Buckeyes in the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis for a shot at the College Football Playoff — and a date with Alabama or Clemson.
Combine a stout defense with a balanced offensive attack, the Badgers have a case to be considered one of the best teams in college football this season and worthy of a NY6 Bowl Game.