While the Badgers might not be a Rose Bowl team like the last two times they started 5-0 (that will be determined over the next couple of months), one thing is for certain – they know how to win.
Unlike last year, when two high-profile non-conference games got away from them (Oregon and Fresno State), this year's five-game non-conference slate is complete without a single black mark.
Sophomore wide receiver Darrin Charles said the difference could be one of chemistry.
"Last year was a lot of individual (focus), a lot of guys that were focusing on themselves," Charles said. "Through the rough season that we had last year, we were trying to make a change out of that and just come together and look out for each other on and off the field."
Charles suggested last year's team was one of several cliques, but the players have become more solidified as a team and have come together.
"Guys are getting to know each other better," Charles said. "The upperclassmen are mixing with the underclassmen, and it's just molding better."
Charles said following last year, the players agreed if everyone didn't make an effort to help bridge some gaps and become a cohesive unit, nothing would change this season.
"Over the summer, us young guys were going to make an effort to know the freshmen and we already had relationships (established) with the upperclassmen," Charles said. "It's just a matter of trying to mold."
The chemistry developed during the offseason has led to everybody being on the same page on game days. That was a major factor in two come-from-behind victories during the non-conference slate, and a factor in the team putting together it's most complete game to date against Arizona.
"Everybody has bought into being a good team," Charles said. "This is a hint of what could be. We're going to get a jumpstart with Penn State, see where that takes us and get it rolling from there."
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