The Wisconsin Badgers have been one of the best rushing teams in the nation over the past five years and despite losing running back Montee Ball to the NFL draft this year, the team still ranks among the top of college football and despite losing last week on the road, the team is ready to take on Purdue on Saturday at 3:30 pm at Camp Randall Stadium.
The Badgers had one of the more strange losses that anyone will ever see against Arizona State, who was able to win under a cloud of confusion and screams of wondering what the heck was going on from Wisconsin, who has a legitimate beef after referees did not give quarterback Joel Stave a final chance to spike the ball. The Badgers were down by two at 32-20 and were driving down the field and were in position to kick a field goal when Stave took a snap and then moved to take a knee to move the kick into the middle of the field.
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When Stave went down to a knee, which the video showed, he was knocked over by one of his linemen and the play appeared awkward and to make matters worse, he placed the ball down himself, making many players think the play was still alive. The refs called him down and signaled it, but when the Sun Devils jumped all over the ball, confusion reigned and the refs put the ball down after the scrum and time was already out, taking the Badgers into the locker room fuming.
The team will have to rebound from that devastating loss and while it could have implications down the line, if the Badgers can win out, it shouldn't be a problem since they have Ohio State on the schedule, but that makes the outcome of that came even more important to the season. The Badgers have been a consistent team on both sides of the ball this season and until the Arizona State game, the team did not allow a point in two opening games against UMass and Tennessee Tech, winning by a combined score of 93-0 and now they will play against a Purdue team that held tight with Notre Dame last week.
The Badgers have to be careful not to look too far ahead on the schedule, as a matchup with the Buckeyes is next and that is on the road at 8 pm and could be one of the best games of the season. Ohio State is a tough team and they are looking good heading into that game and that starts a stretch for the Badgers with three road games in four contests, including against Illinois and Iowa. The team will play Northwestern in that stretch as well at home and they are looking very good this season while ranking in the top 20.
The Badgers then will play at home against BYU and Indiana and then finishes the season against Minnesota on the road and Penn State at home for the final game of the season. The Badgers are one of the favorites in the conference to make it into the BCS and the team is ranked 10th in points against on defense with just under 11 per game and the team is averaging over 330 yards per game rushing the ball and are 82nd in the nation in passing yards per game. The offense obviously has been good as well scoring the ball, but now the schedule really toughens up after games against Massachusetts and Tennessee Tech.
Stave has been very good this season with over 600 yards passing and six touchdowns with just two interceptions and while he could have been more forceful about his knee last week, the Badgers will have to try and bounce back. He threw for three scores against TT and had just one against the Sun Devils and that came after his game against Mass with two scores and so far he has not been over 300 yards in any game.