Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Badgers looking to OSU after the stunner at MSU


In the wake of one of the most agonizing defeats in school history, the dreadful memories of Saturday's loss to Michigan State still linger for the Badgers. Yet, as difficult as it is to continue moving forward, it is imperative that Wisconsin maintains its focus as they invade Columbus to take on Ohio State this Saturday.
UW head coach Bret Bielema addressed the team's disappointment and urged the players to continue fighting.
"I told [the players] you should never get used to this feeling,"Bielema said. "This feeling should hurt. It's something we need to get rid of and shake out tonight. If you ever accept it, then it's going to happen more than you ever want it to."
Even after a shaky performance and an unsuccessful comeback, senior quarterback Russell Wilson remains optimistic about his team's ability to overcome this adversity.
"The main thing is staying positive, keep working hard like we do everyday and keep leading," Wilson said. "There's a lot of great opportunities for us and we have a great opportunity to play Ohio State."
Last season, the Badgers upset the then-No.1 Buckeyes 31-18 before a raucous Camp Randall Stadium, a pivotal victory en route to a share of the Big Ten title and a trip to the Rose Bowl. On Saturday, the Badgers won't have the comforts of home.
While the Badgers have won three of their last five meetings in Columbus, the most recent trip resulted in a 31-13 loss. The Badgers dominated in first downs 22-8 and total offense 368-184, but Scott Tolzein threw three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.
The Badgers are all too familiar with the consequences of missed opportunities, so it is essential they convert when they have their chances, especially against a tough defense, ranked 16th in the nation.
"Ohio State has got a lot of athletic ability up front all the way to the back end of the defense," Wilson said. "The main thing is capitalizing on opportunities just like any other game."
The controversy encompassing Ohio State this summer has been well publicized, as it was revealed several former Buckeyes received improper benefits while former head coach Jim Tressel lied to the NCAA about having any knowledge of the transactions. Tressel has resigned, but the image of the program has been besmirched.
But even with all the negativity, Ohio State has remained competitive, coming off its biggest victory against upstart Illinois, 17-7, last weekend.
"They look more and more like the traditional Ohio State as they get further in the season," Bielema said. "Their defense is playing extremely well with that swagger."
While a shot at the BCS title is gone, the Badgers still dictate their own destiny in the quest for the Big Ten title.Bielema has witnessed teams stuck in a hole claw their way back to become conference champions. In 2003 as Kansas State's co-defensive coordinator, Bielema's team lost three straight games against Marshall and conference rivals Texas and Oklahoma State, leaving them 4-3 overall but 0-2 in the division.
"One of things I really benefitted from my experience at Kansas State was I had a great two years of learning divisional play within a conference," Bielema said.
"[Kansas State head coach] Bill Snyder said if we take care of our business, we can get in the conference championship game and get to a BCS bowl. Everyone was looking at him like he had three heads."
The team rallied together and not only won the rest of their games, but shocked No. 1 Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship, desecrating the Sooners 35-7 for the conference title and earning a trip to the Fiesta Bowl.
"I think the biggest thing is what kind of kids you have in your program," Bielema said. "I expect this group to bounce back as they did late in the fourth quarter and put everything into this preparation."
Let's hope Bucky can turn it around in Columbus.  GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Badgers ready for Primetime


Excuse Peter Konz if he has things on his mind besides CollegeGameDay, trash-talk, revenge or Bowl Championship Series rankings this week.
The redshirt junior center remembers plenty about the Badgers' trip to East Lansing, Mich., a year ago, things said on the field, missed opportunities and, most of all, the final score. Still, the Neenah native said his team does not have revenge on its mind as it prepares for a rematch with the Spartans Saturday night under the lights.
"I don't play the game for revenge," the humorous center said with a smile. "I love the game, I play the game for love."
There is a lot to love about the prospect of a nationally televised showdown between No. 4 Wisconsin (2-0 Big Ten, 6-0 overall) and No. 15 Michigan State (2-0, 5-1).
"You love to go against the people that are supposed to be first-rounders or the teams with the number one defense," Konz said.
No coincidence, MSU has both, or at least almost.
The Spartans boast the No. 2 defense in the country. The defense also tops the Big Ten, allowing just 186.2 yards per game to its opponents. It held Michigan's explosive offense and dynamic quarterback Denard Robinson in check last week en route to a 28-14 victory.  
Michigan State's athletic, destructive front-seven is anchored by junior defensive tackle Jerel Worthy. The 310 pound wrecking ball is in line for some serious hardware and equal interest from theNational Football League once the season is over. Before it even began, Worthy made it known what he thought of UW's addition of senior quarterback Russell Wilson; over the summer he tweeted, "It still don't matter cause they gotta come in spartan stadium. Homecoming he will see how the big ten gets down."
The talk picked up again soon after the Spartans defeated Michigan, but it has been mostly uni-directional, flowing from east to west. The focus in Madison seems to be on preparing for the first true road test this season. A year ago, UW appeared rattled early on against MSU.
"That crowd during the day threw us off the tracks a little bit," junior guard Travis Frederick said, noting the atmosphere will be even more intense for a night game.
"It's a rowdy crowd and a physical defense and it definitely had an impact [last year]," sophomore running back James White added.
Lets hope Bucky can get a win a Michigan State.  GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Badgers are ready for Indiana


Coming off of a much-needed bye week following an emotional win over Nebraska on Oct. 1, No. 4 Wisconsin (5-0 Big Ten, 1-0 overall) will finish off the homecoming celebrations with an 11 a.m. kickoff against Indiana. While the Hoosiers (1-5, 0-2) have struggled in head coach Kevin Wilson's first year, they have plenty to play for as they come to Madison intent on making amends for last year's 83-20 embarrassment at the hands of the Badgers.
Although the Hoosiers will no doubt come into Saturday energized, this energy may ultimately prove worthless in the face of what is clearly a significant talent disparity. In their lone win over South Carolina State, Indiana held possession for over 35 minutes, a feat that will almost certainly not repeat itself at Camp Randall. Still, the Hoosiers have been very competitive in conference games against Illinois and Penn State, with plenty of incentive to continue that trend on Saturday.
"I know that the win-loss record isn't that good, but they've been competitive," UW head coach Bret Bielema said at his Monday press conference. "If your team is improving each week, it makes a big statement to me, and they definitely dothat."
But despite the obvious advantage the Badgers have on paper, there is always the added mental challenge of staying focused on the present with two crucial road games at Michigan State and Ohio State lying just on the horizon.
Having already surmounted what many felt was their biggest challenge in the Big Ten opener against Nebraska, the Badgers have to keep themselves from becoming complacent as it would only take a few poor possessions to derail all hopes of a national title. While that fear of complacency is a valid one, this Badger team feels prepared to deal with the temptation head-on.
It is good to see the Badgers are staying focused on one game at a time.  GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Badgers Beat Nebraska


If Russell Wilson becomes the third football player at the University of Wisconsin to win the Heisman Trophy, it will be because of performances such as the one against Nebraska last week, not any promotional ideas hatched by the school's athletic communications department.
Wilson's performance on national television in prime time on Saturday night has thrust him near the top of most Heisman polls, which are becoming a cottage industry.
The Heisman polls are too numerous to mention, but many have Wilson in the top three, along with two other quarterbacks, Stanford's Andrew Luck and Oklahoma's Landry Jones.
The UW athletic communications department has started a Twitter campaign for Wilson's Heisman chances (@RussellManiaXVI). But don't expect Wilson to be checking it out much, since he doesn't have a Twitter account.
"No, I don't follow it too much," Wilson said after practice on Wednesday night. "Brian (Lucas), the media relations guy, let's me know. That's kind of cool. I don't have Twitter, though, myself."
Fresh off the push he got nationally from the 48-17 victory over the Cornhuskers, Wilson appeared Tuesday on the ESPN television show, "Pardon the Interruption," and also Dan Patrick's nationally syndicated radio show, which also is simulcast on television.
Barry Alvarez said getting Russell Wilson was like winning the lottery, I would have to agree with him.  GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!