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Wisconsin Football: Winner and Losers from the Week 9 Game vs. Michigan State

Dave RadcliffeContributor IIIOctober 28, 2012

Wisconsin Football: Winner and Losers from the Week 9 Game vs. Michigan State

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    The Wisconsin Badgers failed to hold onto a late lead against Michigan State Saturday afternoon and fell in overtime to the Spartans 16-13 on Madison's homecoming weekend.

    Wisconsin allowed Michigan State to tie the score at 10 with just over a minute remaining, and after only managing a field goal in overtime, the Spartans scored another touchdown to win yet another close contest with the Badgers.

    Here are the winners and losers from Wisconsin's loss to Michigan State.

Loser: Joel Stave

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    On Wisconsin's first play on offense in the second half, quarterback Joel Stave was sacked by William Gholston, and in the process, Stave broke his collarbone.

    On Sunday, it was announced that Stave would miss the remainder of the season (via Jake Zimmermann of WKOW-TV).

    It's a devastating loss for the Badgers and disappointing for Stave, who came on strong as a freshman this season to help Wisconsin turn its season around.

    Prior to being knocked out of the game, Stave had completed 9-of-11 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown. He won't be back until spring ball, where he may have to earn the starting job all over again, and now, the Badgers will have to try and manage without Stave under center.

Losers: Montee Ball and James White

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    The Badgers' suddenly potent rushing attack would be going up against one of the best run defenses in the country. Something had to give.

    Michigan State's defense won out and held Montee Ball and James White to a combined 62 yards and an average of just over two yards a carry. The offensive line was dominated by the Spartans' front four and allowed five sacks as well.

    Adding to the poor effort on the ground, the "Barge" formation was completely shut down, and on one occasion, the ball was snapped over White's head, resulting in a big loss.

    This performance ultimately ends the long shot of Ball getting back into contention for the Heisman Trophy and halts the momentum Wisconsin had built with its running game.

Loser: Danny O'Brien

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    Danny O'Brien entered the game after Stave went down with a 7-3 lead and a chance to redeem himself after his early-season struggles.

    O'Brien did everything but earn redemption, failing to show any ability to move the football or throw downfield while leading the Badgers to just six points.

    In one half of football and one overtime period, O'Brien went 5-of-11 for 44 yards, his longest completion resulting in an 11-yard gain. O'Brien was also sacked three times on the day.

    Maybe he winds up the winner in this situation because he will likely be the starting quarterback from here on out for Wisconsin, but he isn't exactly a fan favorite around Madison these days.

Winner: David Gilbert

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    Although the Badgers couldn't muster much on offense, their defense kept them in the game by limiting Michigan State to three points for the first 58 minutes of the game.

    A lot of that success was due to the performance of defensive end David Gilbert, who got after it all afternoon long. Gilbert only finished with three tackles, but two of them were for a loss, and he recorded 1.5 sacks of quarterback Andrew Maxwell.

    The junior also forced a fumble that the Spartans would recover and had a quarterback hit.

    While the defense, as a whole, faltered at the end of the game, this loss shouldn't be pinned on Gilbert and company because of their excellent work throughout the duration of the game.

Loser: Bret Bielema

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    The clock management and play-calling on Wisconsin's final drive in regulation was a real head-scratcher. 

    After Michigan State tied the game, the Badgers' offense took over with 1:01 to go in the fourth quarter at their own 23-yard line and three timeouts to burn.

    Two of Wisconsin's first three plays were runs, and by the time the clock struck zero, the Badgers still had all three of their timeouts on the board and only managed to move forward six yards after O'Brien was sacked for a big loss.

    Another question that needs to be asked is why Bielema turned to O'Brien instead of Curt Phillips. Phillips is a senior and is the only one of the Badgers' trio of quarterbacks who hasn't received a fair shot. 

    O'Brien had his chance and blew it. He then let his second chance go to waste as well. We'll see how Bielema and his staff use the upcoming bye week to regroup, but the Badgers have now lost three games by a combined nine points, and some of that blame lies with the head honcho. 

Conclusion

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    After reeling off three straight victories in impressive fashion, the Badgers' quarterback situation is once again in flux, and hopes of a third straight Rose Bowl appearance feel like an illusion.

    Wisconsin had a chance to put the hammer down and defeat a very tough Michigan State team, but instead, squandered a late lead and lost its 21-game home winning streak, not to mention Stave for the rest of the season.

    The quarterback dilemma will be something to keep an eye on in the coming weeks. Will Phillips get his shot at leading the Badgers?

    For now, it appears to again be O'Brien's job, but one bit of good news is that Wisconsin's next opponent, Indiana, has given up the 12th-most rushing yards in FCS. A win over the Hoosiers surely puts the Badgers back in the Big Ten championship game, and from there, anything can happen.

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