All American Shutdown

Averaging 13.2 yards per catch and six catches a game, Travis Beckum was singled out by the Tennessee defense. The result was a season low in catches and yards.

TAMPA, Fla. - Travis Beckum didn't have many words to say after what he described as a disappointing game in a disappointing loss, but his actions said it all.

After UW quarterback Tyler Donovan threw an incompletion on a crucial fourth and two in the fourth quarter, Beckum took his helmet off in disgust and slammed it against the field.

Beckum thought he was open. He thought it would be one of the few chances he had all game to make a play. He thought he could win the game.

But it just ended in frustration for the junior tight end, as was the case for most of the game in the Badgers' 21-17 loss to the Tennessee Volunteers in the Outback Bowl Tuesday.

"I know he was frustrated," UW head coach Bret Bielema said. "I grabbed him at halftime and there was a time where he was very frustrated coming off the sideline. When you're a big playmaker and don't get a chance to make those things it can get frustrating."

Beckum came into the game with 73 receptions on the year—a UW school record—and 960 receiving yards, which is tops for tight ends in the nation this season.

But Tuesday Beckum was limited to only two catches for 22 yards, and he has no explanation why.

While admitting Tennessee's coverage on him was good, Beckum said it wasn't anything that he hadn't seen before. When asked how the Volunteers were able to limit him to only two receptions, Beckum was at a loss of words before coming to a conclusion.

"I'm on the same page you are," he said. "I have no idea, it was just a bad game."

Still, Donovan believes the Volunteers did just enough to take Beckum out of the game. They put extra coverage on him and had linebackers and safeties follow him on crossing routes, making it difficult to ever find Beckum open.

"They did a good job bracketing Travis," Donovan said. "Good teams know how to take out key players in the offense. They did a good job of spying him on a lot of his crossing routes."

The Volunteers covered Beckum so well that Donovan didn't even attempt throwing to Beckum until the second half. But when Beckum did start to make plays, it was when it mattered the most.

Beckum's first catch came on a critical third and 11 play late in the fourth quarter when the Badgers were driving down the field for a score. While he made the catch to turn around and catch a ball thrown behind him, Beckum was only able to gain nine yards as he had to dive for the catch.

The ensuing play was the incompletion on fourth and two that left him slamming his helmet.

On the Badgers' next offensive possession—their last shot as there was only one minute and 26 seconds remaining on the clock—Donovan went to Beckum on a throw that resulted in a 13-yard reception. However, the very next play sealed the Volunteers' win as Donovan was intercepted by Antonio Wardlow.

More than anything, though, Beckum said the frustrating game will motivate him to come back better next season as he has decided to put his NFL dreams on hold on and return for his senior year. But it doesn't make things any better for the time being.

"We never like to lose, especially a bowl game, especially knowing the fact that we could've won the game," Beckum said. "I think there we just things we left on the field."

Badger Nation Top Stories