Wisconsin Badgers football has been highly ranked for years and expectations for this year have been no different, as the Wisconsin Badgers try to reclaim the Big Ten. However, they are considered the third best contender in the Big Ten, behind national favorite Ohio State and rising Iowa. The program is getting little buzz in comparison, but that is how things usually work for them. Late last night, the Badgers had their first chance to make a statement against UNLV, which they did in spite of early trouble.
The 12’th ranked Badgers were the dominant team the whole way, although it took a while for it to show on the scoreboard. In the first half, Wisconsin led UNLV 279-12 in total yards, and 138 to -9 in rushing yards. Yet in points, they only led by 17-14 at the half.
Despite the early dominance for the Wisconsin Badgers football team, two mistakes cost them big. An interception was returned for a touchdown, and a goal line fumble led to an 82 yard return and a subsequent Rebels score.
But in the second half, Wisconsin was mistake free again, scoring 24 third quarter points. It started when the Badgers forced a fumble of their own, which defensive back Aaron Henry returned for a touchdown. The rout was finally back on after that, as UNLV could cause no more errors.
The 41-21 win was still worse than what the score indicated, as UNLV was outgained 475-215. It was a mixed opening night win for Wisconsin Badgers football, as they controlled the game, yet still had a hard time early.
Such mistakes will cost them later in the year, as they march into the Big Ten schedule. For the remainder of the month, the Badgers will stay home in Madison, as they host San Jose State, Arizona State and Austin Peay. They next go on the road for their Big Ten opener at Michigan State on October 2.
But the big dates on the Wisconsin Badgers football schedule remain on October 16 and 23. Madison will host a prime time battle with No. 2 Ohio State, which should definitively answer if Wisconsin is a Big Ten and national title contender. Yet even if they pass that, they have to visit the Big Ten’s other top preseason pick the next week, when they face Iowa.
Those are the Wisconsin Badgers only two football games against ranked teams in the preseason polls. At this point, it appears they have a two game season ahead, although that season is still a long way off. It does give them another month to fine tune themselves, and to hope for more games like the opener against UNLV – minus the two errors.
Associated Press- “No. 12 Wisconsin runs over UNLV 41-21”
Yahoo Sports- “Wisconsin Badgers – Scores and Schedule”