Although not quite as efficient as Week 1, the Badger offense was still impressive in their 35-0 win over Oregon State on Saturday. Here are the grades:
Can you say Heisman? Well, it is a little early. But Russell Wilson has been that good. And Saturday proved it. When Wisconsin’s running game was struggling early on, Wilson completely picked up the slack for the Badgers. He finished 17-of-21 passing on the day for 189 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Because Wisconsin’s offense is so balanced, don’t realistically expect Wilson to win the Heisman, but so far, he’s been one of the most efficient players in the nation.
Running Backs: B
Although the Badger running game got off to a very slow start against the Beavers, they really started to pick it up towards the end of the first half and into the second half. Montee Ball ended up leading the Badgers with 118 yards on 18 carries with two touchdowns, while James White chipped in with 53 yards. For any other team, a game like this would garner an ‘A,’ but Wisconsin has one of the best rushing attacks in the country. Basically anything less than perfect is less than ‘A’ for the Badgers.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: A
Other than Wilson, this was by far Wisconsin’s strongest offensive unit on Saturday. Wisconsin’s receivers and tight ends seemed perfectly in sync with Wilson and it showed in the stats. Tight end Jacob Pederson hauled in six passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns while senior wideout Nick Toon had 69 yards on seven catches and a touchdown. Jared Abbrederis also had three catches for 26 yards, while tight end Jake Byrne added a catch.
Offensive Line: B
Surprisingly, Wisconsin’s offensive line—traditionally its strongest unit—struggled on Saturday…at least in the first half. Oregon State’s defensive front seven shut down the Badger rushing offense through the first quarter-and-a-half and they also tagged Wilson for a sack. However, you knew that wouldn’t last for long. Eventually, the over-sized Badger offensive line imposed their will on the Beavers.
Wisconsin didn’t match the 51 points they put up against UNLV last Thursday, but this was Oregon State, not UNLV. By no means are the Beavers a great defensive team, but for the most part, any Pac-12 team will be better defensively than UNLV. Oregon State is no exception. That said, despite the early struggles, the Wisconsin offense showed the versatility that it gained when Wilson joined the program. Rare as it is when an opposing defense shuts down the Badger running game, it is reassuring to know that Russell Wilson can take over if needed.