Sunday, November 7, 2010

THAT WAS ONE UGLY FIRST HALF


When you only get 12 game days a football season people like to think that you can have a team on the same level of emotional preparedness each week. In reality that is not going to happen. After 2 games that saw the Badgers more excited than a 17 year old with his girlfriend after the junior prom it was inevitable that Bielema's team was going to have a little trouble getting excited to face Purdue. However, that was downright UGLY in the first half.

After the Ohio State and Iowa games Bucky was battered. Lance Kendricks, John Clay, James White, Jay Valai, J.J. Watt, and Peter Knoz all were beaten up going into this game and all will still be headed into next week vs. Indiana. Bielema had a tough job on his hands. This Purdue team is young (a 19 year old is their QB) and they have had their own share of injuries this season, but they play hard and the game was in West Lafayette. It was obvious from the start that the Badgers were in a little bit of a slumber. The offensive live played very poorly in the first half and the defense was having trouble stopping Purdue on third down. All this led to a 10-6 deficit at half and more than a little consternation at halftime.

The second half was a different story due to two reasons: turnovers caused by a more aggressive defense and the running of Montee Ball. With the injuries to Clay and White, Montee Ball once again got the bulk of the carries and showed why, at least in my opinion, he is a more complete back than Clay. Ball is not going to supplant White if White gets healthy, but Ball has showed a couple of qualities that Clay certainly lacks, most importantly the ability to stay on the field. If you say either Ball's 42 yd run that was called back due to a holding penalty or his 31 yd run for a touchdown on the next drive you will understand what I'm talking about regarding his superior qualities to Clay. He runs with his head up, he does a fantastic job of not outrunning his blockers, and he can make people miss. Both of the earlier runs I mentioned looked like he was running in third gear. His body never got out of control and it was obvious he was running at a speed that allowed his blocking to work in front of him. That quality is extremely rare for a back who spots the endzone in front of him. I think the coaching staff has to put some serious thought into giving Ball the majority of the carries even when and if Clay gets, and stays, healthy, if that ever happens. Well enough about my Montee Ball man-crush.

Nine down and three to go. Indiana played well yesterday and should have beat Iowa (for those of you who have not seen the last Indiana offensive play, Oh My God, just catch the damn ball. It was right in your hands with no one around you.) With the game in Madison, it shouldn't be a problem. Nor should the Northwestern game. They have played relatively well, but the last two or three weeks have proven they are still the same old Northwestern. As I said after the Iowa game, the one that scares me is Michgan. They can obviously score points. On the other hand, they couldn't stop the local Pop Warner team from putting up 40+ on them, so that game should be real interesting.

I don't want to steal Winks' thunder as his BCS articles have been great, but I will be real interested in seeing the standings when they come out tonight. For some inexplicable reason the team with the upset of the week keeps jumping over Wisconsin. A few weeks ago it was Missouri when they beat OU. Then it was Nebraska when they in turn beat Missouri. Yesterday LSU beats a clearly down Alabama team. With Alabama and Utah losing, and Nebraska clearly showing that they are not a top-10 team, Bucky should be at least #6 in this week's BCS standings. I will bet a Buffalo nickel, however, LSU jumps over Bucky just for beating 'Bama (does no one remember us crushing OSU?).

Dear Lord, can we just have a damn playoff already?????

2 comments:

Winks said...

What is it about Montee Ball that makes him so easy to love?!?!

Turtle said...

The fact that he's got an 74 year old's name? Oh, and he's one of three starting-caliber backs the Badgers have.

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