In what has been a media buzz storm and topic of discussion around water coolers everywhere in the Midwest, Bielema, with Wisconsin leading 41-16 with less than seven minutes left, called for a two-point conversion attempt, resulting in a Scott Tolzien incompletion.
Bielema told reporters he, along with all other college coaches, keeps a card with him to determine what to do following a touchdown in the fourth quarter. He said a team with a 25-point lead in the fourth quarter must go for a two-point conversion following a score, according to the card. Minnesota Coach Tim Brewster wasn't buying it.
"I thought it was a very poor decision by a head football coach, and he'll have to live with that," Brewster said after the game. "It was wrong. Everybody in here knows it and everybody in college football knows it."
Two days later and even with the publicity and controversy it's generated, Bielema sticks with his decision.
"I am not changing what I said because I spoke the truth on Saturday," Bielema said during his Monday News Conference. "With experiences we've had in the fourth quarter, specifically last year up there, we're up by 10. We're going in for drive, we're moving the ball really well and Zach (Brown) puts the ball on the ground. They scoop, score, go the other way and all of a sudden, it's a three-point game and everybody's at the edge of their seat in the fourth quarter.
"I've seen those leads swing so quickly. I saw their offense score very fast on two different occasions. That was all that was driving my mind. I went to the card and I would go with it a million times over."
Bielema also went on to say that if he was on the other end of the equation, he would not expect anything different.
A National Battle
For just the ninth time in history and first time since 1997, Wisconsin will host the NO.1 team in the country. While Badgers are 3-16 all-time against top-ranked teams, the Badgers are 3-5 at Camp Randall, only being outscored by an average of 6.9 points per game.
Bielema is 0-3 against the Buckeyes, including a 38-17 loss in 2007 when OSU was ranked tops in the country. Following last season's 18-point loss in Columbus, a game in which Wisconsin limited OSU to only 184 total yards, Bielema was candid saying that he hates losing to the Buckeyes, an honest comment derived out of respect for their program.
"Our guys looked forward to this game after beating Minnesota," Bielema said. "Now to go against an opponent at the level Ohio State has been able to uphold for so long is going to be a nice measuring stick. Our guys will have that in the back of their minds and hopefully move forward."
All Day with Clay
The Big Ten Conference announced on Monday that junior running back John Clay was named co-Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against Minnesota, the second time in his career he's earned that honor and both coming against the Gophers.
Clay, who ironically shares this week's honor with Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor, tied a career high with three rushing touchdowns while gaining 111 yards on 21 carries in a 41-23 victory over Minnesota.
The junior running back went over the 100-yard mark and scored a touchdown for the 11th time in the last 12 games. The reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year was part of a rushing attack that racked up 250 yards on the ground against the Gophers.
Clay has found balance alongside the dynamic James White, as the true freshman added 118 yards and two scores in the victory. Clay and White are one of three running back duos in the country to each average at least 80 yards per game, and their 1,177 combined rushing yards is second-best in the country, trailing only Michigan State's Edwin Baker and Le'Veon Bell (1,232).
"When we've been able to run the football, we've been able to have success winning ball games," Bielema said. "I think the nice thing coming out of the game Saturday was the effect of Tolzien going to (Lance) Kendricks, (Nick) Toon, (David) Gilreath … the more answers we can have that aren't pertained to running the football, the better off we are."
So far this season, Clay has averaged 6.1 yards per rush (115 carries for 699 yards and nine scores). White is sixth in the country with a 7.7 yards per carry (63 rushes for 494 yards and eight scores). According to Bielema, each player probably has a number of carries they want to have, but the coaching staff will continue to rotate the two based on the situation.
"You can't sit down on Thursday in a staff meeting and say, ‘I'm going to have John get 12 carries in the first quarter and James eight,'" Bielema said. "It's got to be in the flow of the game and the coaches have to be a great job of managing."
As a team, the coaching staff awarded all five offensive linemen and Bill Nagy as the co-offensive MVPs.
"I give a lot of credit to those five guys and Billy for what James and John are going through now, the success their having and even us throwing the ball," Bielema said. "It all starts with those guys up front."
Defensively, Mike Taylor was awarded the MVP after the redshirt freshman played his best game since suffering his knee injury last season, finishing with a career-high three tackles for loss.
"Mike had a great game," Bielema said. "He's become a lot more sudden over the last couple weeks and it paid off with some nice plays behind the line of scrimmage."
Extra Points: Wisconsin's game at Iowa on Oct. 23 will be broadcast live on ABC at 2:30 p.m. (CT), the Big Ten Conference announced on Monday. For those out of the local viewing area, the game can be found on ESPN. The Badgers are looking to snap a two-game losing streak to the Hawkeyes … Conor O'Neill will move from safety back to field linebacker to help UW cope with linebacker depth and rotation issues … Jay Valai, who sat out last week against Minnesota, is listed as the starting strong safety on the depth chart and practiced Sunday.