It hasn't happened often this season, but Aranda was visibly upset and had strong words for the Badgers when they gave up 55 yards on Rutgers' second drive Saturday that led to a first-quarter field goal.
“He pulled us aside and said we need to set the line of scrimmage in our favor,” said senior outside linebacker Joe Schobert. “We need to make plays in their backfield.”
Wisconsin did a lot of that from that point on, as the Badgers put forth another impressive effort in a 48-10 win against the Scarlet Knights at Camp Randall Stadium.
Holding Rutgers to a season-low 165 yards, the second-fewest allowed by Wisconsin all season, the Scarlet Knights’ 82 passing yards were their lowest of 2015 and its 83 rushing yards were its second-fewest.
“I have a lot of respect for coach Aranda,” said outside linebacker Vince Biegel. “I love playing for him, and I've been in his system for three years now. I know coach Aranda, and when he's animated, he means it. He was frustrated after the second drive. We cleaned it up and shut them down.”
The Badgers (7-2, 4-1 Big Ten) forced Rutgers (3-5, 1-4) into seven consecutive drive of three plays or less. Wisconsin forced eight total three-and-outs and only two first downs in the second half, both coming in the final 4:25.
Biegel finished with two sacks and two tackles-for-loss in the win, and said he was proud of the unit's accomplishments, which included a number of pressures, quarterback hits and pass breakups.
“It was big boy football, it really was,” said Biegel, who had five tackles. “We definitely like the challenge of stopping the run, and on third down, getting after the passer.”
Others who contributed were senior strong safety Michael Caputo (eight tackles) and inside linebacker Jack Cichy, who had eight tackles in his first career start. Cichy, a sophomore, replaced Chris Orr, who was sidelined with a leg injury.
Schobert picked up his second fumble recovery of the season, while senior free safety Tanner McEvoy had a sack and nabbed his second interception in 2015 on a pass that ricocheted off Schobert's helmet.
The Badgers have allowed an average of 8.0 points per game over their last eight games, and their scoring defense – ranked second in the nation entering the Rutgers game – improved from 11.1 ppg to 11.0 ppg.
"I think athletically we've taken a step up every year we've been here, especially in the front seven,” said Schobert. “This year so far it's just been a young team, a very athletic team, and we've just been getting assignments down as the season's progressed. We're seeing the results now."
Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst said the Badgers' effort on defense was fun to watch, and he's pleased with Aranda's guidance and the veteran leadership amongst players on the unit.
“They don't read the clippings, they don't rest on their laurels,” Chryst said. “They rise up to the challenge and they're fun to be around. They can do their job and they trust the other ones, and I think there's a competitiveness to them.”