1. Will the Real Badgers Please Stand Up?
Well, we did see the "good" Badgers for much of the game. They dominated the game in the trenches and were basically one play away from sealing the game, when the "bad" Badgers made an untimely appearance with penalties and a late game collapse.
2. Snaps for Ringer
Ringer was held to just 21 carries for 54 yards and they finished with 12 more offensive snaps than the Spartans despite the Spartans late surge. Mission accomplished in every facet other than the end result. While they demolished the MSU running game, coverage was too soft in the secondary and over the middle to the tight end and a plethora of pass interference penalties served to negate this huge advantage.
3. Mark Dell Going Vertical
Mark Dell, suffering from an undisclosed injury, dressed against Wisconsin but did not play. However, Blair White picked up the slack with 164 receiving yards and open receivers were a problem all game long. While they did not hit on the home run, they consistently hit for big plays despite numerous dropped passes. The secondary has defended reasonably well this year, but Saturday was not a higher point in their season.
4. Trevor Anderson vs. Eric Vandenheuvel
Gabe Carimi did play, leaving Eric Vanden Huevel on the right side. Either way, Trevor Anderson was a complete non-factor, finishing without a tackle and providing no noticeable pressure. Sherer created some yards with his feet, but generally had plenty of time to throw.
5. Otis Wiley vs. Brad Nortman
Nortman was ok. He had a few pooch chances which took away a few chances, but even when Nortman kicked the ball a little low, the coverage was good as Wiley finished with just 6 yards per return. He did have a 15 yarder late in the game, but it was not horribly damaging.
Overall, the game was not terribly surprising. It was a pretty competitive game with the Badgers dominating the ground attack more than I expected. I noted before the game that this would come down to turnovers and special teams. I should have added penalties, as that is a wild-card as well. It is pretty hard to argue that penalties did not lose this game as they finished with 121 in penalty yardage, including a number of key late calls that helped contribute significantly to the loss. On paper, this remains a solid team, but they continue to shoot themselves in the foot at key times, which obviously drops them down a few notches. I predicted 27-21 MSU, and sadly for Badger fans, they found a way to turn a pretty sure win into an accurate prediction.