Did UW overlook Northern Illinois?

That is the question people are asking in the aftermath of a very close call at Camp Randall Stadium Saturday afternoon. A couple of Badgers said after the game, the answer to that question is yes.

The question was natural following the Badgers 24-21 sluggish victory at Camp Randall Stadium Saturday afternoon.

After not establishing the running game, missing tackles left and right, and getting beaten at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, everyone was wondering – did Wisconsin simply overlook Northern Illinois?

The locker room was divided on that issue. Several players and coaches said the team was ready to play, but a couple disagreed. Cornerback Scott Starks was one of them.

"I hate to say it, but I think maybe a lot of people on the team kind of didn't get as pumped for the game or didn't get mentally prepared before the game," Starks said.

"We talked about complacency right before the game. Not being complacent no matter who we were playing against, and I think that's what happened. We felt the opponent wasn't at the caliber we were, but they came out fighting and we were kind of on our heels at first. We had to come back fighting at the end."

Offensive Coordinator Brian White said he knows people will come to the conclusion that UW overlooked NIU. But the reality is that the Huskies outcoached and outplayed the Badgers in almost every facet of the game. And NIU deserved to win.

"They came in here and played as hard as you could ask any football team to play," White said. "A lot of people are going to say, `Did you underestimate Northern Illinois?' Absolutely not. They outplayed us. There's a big difference."

But running back Anthony Davis admitted he was lazy today, and he didn't have a reason why that was the case. Davis missed several open holes and whiffed on a couple of blocks that led to sacks.

He wasn't the only one that wasn't ready to play.

"We just came out dead. Maybe we weren't in the right mindset," Davis said. "I mean, we came out and expected this team to just lay down for us. And they are a pretty good ball club. They outplayed us on both sides of the ball."

Senior offensive tackle Ben Johnson said he personally was fired up to play, but he couldn't speak for the team. The only thing he could speak for is, if the Badgers don't get better soon, the right-hand portion of their 4-0 record will be disappearing shortly.

"We better get it squared away. We're not going to beat anybody if we don't get the running game going," Johnson said. "If we don't correct these mistakes, we're going to end up last (in the Big Ten Conference). That's just the way it is. But Coach (Jim) Hueber is not going to accept it and we're not going to accept it either. Alvarez doesn't accept it. That's the way Alvarez is. He doesn't accept mistakes, and we're not going to make any more."

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