Wisconsin State Journal columnist Tom Oates grades the Wisconsin Badgers’ performance in their 38-13 loss to the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday night at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Jonathan Taylor ran as hard as he’s ever run and two jet sweeps netted UW 70 yards but the passing game was non-existent. Alex Hornibrook forced a pass into coverage that was tipped, then intercepted, handing Michigan a field goal. His late pick-six ended UW’s hopes. Michigan’s blitzes gave UW fits in pass protection.
Zack Baun charged down the line of scrimmage and lost containment on Shea Patterson’s 81-yard keeper around left end. If Baun was supposed to have help on the edge, he didn’t get it. T.J. Edwards, Ryan Connelly and Andrew Van Ginkel helped UW amp up the pass rush. Newcomer Reggie Pearson played fast before he was injured.
The Wisconsin Badgers lost to the Michigan Wolverines 38-13 on Saturday night at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Special teams: D-plus
A low punt by Anthony Lotti led to a 26-yard Michigan return. Jack Dunn’s 15-yard punt return kept the second-quarter momentum going. UW had two penalties − holding and roughing the snapper − on one punt return, allowing Michigan to keep the ball. Say this about kickoff returner Aron Cruickshank, he’s fearless.
Paul Chryst ran straight at Michigan’s smallish defense but the offense had no counterpunch. Not sure why Chryst didn’t run the ball twice with UW facing third-and-2 at Michigan’s 42 trailing by 14 late in the third quarter. Instead, he called a pass, then punted. Jim Leonhard blitzed more than usual, with good results.
UW went into The Big House as a 10-point underdog for a reason: Its offense was inconsistent and its defense was inexperienced and injured. The Badgers put up a good fight, especially the short-handed defense, but didn’t have the firepower to test the Wolverines’ stellar defense and now must reset their goals.