Instant Analysis: Wisconsin 59, Nebraska 24

    E-mail Pete Fiutak Follow me … @PeteFiutak It’s not like Gary Andersen was on a hot seat, but considering Wisconsin hadn’t played anyone of note outside

    November 15, 2014

    E-mail Pete Fiutak 
    Follow me … @PeteFiutak 

    It’s not like Gary Andersen was on a hot seat, but considering Wisconsin hadn’t played anyone of note outside of LSU, and with a big game problems against Ohio State and South Carolina last year, this was about as important a win as the coaching staff could’ve pulled off. Wisconsin just showed that it could still play the role of Bret Bielema’s bully, but without acting the part. 

    Wisconsin is known for its battering and bruising running game thanks to the behemoth offensive line, but against Nebraska, the O line put on a clinic. Melvin Gordon will forever be remembered for setting the NCAA single-game rushing record with 408 yards against the nation’s 17th-ranked run defense, but he also got a whole bunch of help from the front five that did its job, and the coaching staff that came up with a defensive gem that helped the Badgers overcome the early 17-7 deficit. 

    Now Wisconsin will be seen in a different light. This was a very big game, on a very big stage – even if it went on at the same time as Mississippi State’s loss to Auburn – and after the first quarter, everything worked. The West is now there for the taking, and while there’s no Rose Bowl this year – since it’s one of the playoff games – a fourth Big Ten championship in five years is looking attainable. 

    And Ohio State, who’s looking for another statement win, couldn’t be happier. Now, after this performance, Wisconsin would be a big win – a very big win. 

    Gary Andersen got his very big win. 

    E-mail Rich Cirminiello 
    Follow me … @RichCirminiello 
    Earn a Ph.D. in college football … class is in session at Campus Insiders 

    Finally, some clarity in the Big Ten … and the Heisman race. 

    Melvin Gordon, in a performance for the ages, did more than just break the FBS single-game rushing record with 408 yards. Sans any support from the Wisconsin passing game, he helped made sense of the Big Ten race, while likely narrowing the Heisman competition to a two-man choice. Do you like the junior quarterback hailing from Eugene, or do you prefer the explosive running back from Madison? 

    A week ago, Ohio State brought order to the Big Ten East, stunning Michigan State. This Saturday, it was the Badgers’ turn, having a shockingly easy time with one-loss Nebraska, which led, 17-3, at one point before surrendering eight unanswered touchdowns. Barring an upset, Wisconsin is going to rise out of the West Division, setting the stage for a Dec. 6 battle in Indianapolis, which the Big Ten folks will have no problem selling on a national level. 

    Ohio State vs. Wisconsin. Gordon. J.T. Barrett. Urban Meyer and his Buckeyes seeking redemption following last December’s implosion at Lucas Oil Stadium. After a rough September, the Big Ten now has a pair of outstanding teams on a collision course, as long as both can avoid an upset. The conference has mined its representatives, with the Buckeyes and the Badgers peaking at an absolutely perfect time of the season. 

    E-mail Phil Harrison
    Follow me @PhilHarrisonCFB

    Nebraska has officially been exiled from any championship level talk, while Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon is officially at the forefront of the Heisman talk after Wisconsin finished off a public flogging of the ‘Huskers.

    For the Big Ten — and most notably Ohio State — the need was for the Cornhuskers to continue to win so that the league could showcase two top ten teams in the Big Ten Championship game. Instead, Wisconsin now looks to have the inside track to Indy. And while the Badgers might be playing as well as any team in the conference, it won’t be as much of a boost for the Buckeyes if they find a way to stop the potential of Badger running back Melvin Gordon and company on December 6.

    Balance? Who needs balance on offense when the opposing defense can’t stop a punishing running attack that it knows is coming? Behind a NCAA FBS record 408 yards on the ground by Melvin Gordon, the Badgers beat the Nebraska defensive line into submission. For the ‘Huskers, it’s been a recurring issue of not being able to slow down teams pounding the ball at them since joining the Big ten. It’s an alarming trend that will keep Bo Pelini from getting his team to the pinnacle of the conference, and it has to be addressed.

    Credit to Wisconsin, but Badger fans shouldn’t get too high on this one. Yes the team and Gordon are nearly impossible to completely stop on the ground, and Gordon might have just sprinted his way to the top of the Heisman heap, but the lack of a passing attack has directly resulted in two losses that could have made a good year into a great one. There will be a time in the very near future once again in which Tanner McEvoy or Joel Stave will have to make plays down the field to keep defenses with the personnel to slow down the freight train.

    Still, if you are Iowa, Minnesota, or Ohio State, Wisconsin might be the last team you want to go against right now. On the ground might be how the west is won in the Big Ten, maybe more.

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