Badger refrain: an Iowa frame of mind

Wisconsin does not want to "lose twice" to Michigan State

This University of Wisconsin football team is not accustomed to losing but its core—a 24-player senior class—has been through college football's ups and downs before. The challenge after seeing an undefeated season evaporate in a 49-14 loss to Michigan State: get back on track as fast as possible.

"We have no other choice," cornerback Scott Starks said. "Whether it's easy or hard I don't think has no bearing on it because we've got a job to do. Right now we are just focused on Iowa, being 1-0 against Iowa."

"I've had many, many, many more that are more difficult than this," Wisconsin head coach Barry Alvarez said. "I think when you're beaten soundly they're easier to get behind you. It wasn't like you got beat in the last second or you walked off the field and felt like you should have won the game. We were beaten in all three phases. So you move on."

Starks, at least, agreed that the team needs to move beyond the Michigan State loss.

"He's been through a lot more games than I have but that was a tough one to swallow," Starks said, regarding Alvarez' comment. "It was difficult. We've got to keep moving on now. We've got a lot of season left."

"You have to move on and start getting prepared for the next team," Starks added. "You can't keep dwelling on the last week or the lost week because you don't want the same team to beat you twice."

It is a lesson Starks said has been tough to learn in the past.

"I think you can probably go back to the Purdue game probably last year that kind of trickled down a little bit," Starks said.

Last season the Badgers were 6-1 heading into a home game with Purdue, having just knocked off previously unbeaten Ohio State. Wisconsin lost to the Boilermakers on a last-second field goal and went on to go 1-5 in its last six games and finish 7-6.

Lesson learned?

"We're a totally different team this year," Starks said. "We've got a lot of experience, a lot of guys have played a lot of ball here. They know how to deal with losses. Even though we haven't lost yet this year we know how to deal with it, we're going to keep the same 1-0 mentality."

"That's something we need to be careful with and just put all our focus into Iowa," quarterback John Stocco said.

The Badgers are conscious of not allowing the loss to creep into their psyche. Starks said he has heard a lot of his teammates say that they cannot allow the Spartans to haunt them this week.

"That just let's you know the kind of character we have on out team and the kind of intelligence the guys on the team have to know that that can happen, that one loss can trickle down to even more losses," Starks said. "But we'll be ready to bounce back… and we'll try not to let that happen.

"We are extremely determined. We are concentrating on Iowa right now…We've got work to do. We have to be 1-0 every day. We have to work hard every day and concentrate on this game. Just put everything that we've got on this game."


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