Wisconsin Badgers Get Mixed Reviews in Week One

Adam LindemerSenior Analyst ISeptember 6, 2009

The college football season is officially underway with almost every team in the nation having played their first games.

For the Wisconsin Badgers, that first game against Northern Illinois showed promise for the rest of the season, but also gave Badger fans reason to worry.

After Wisconsin stopped Northern Illinois on its opening drive, the Badgers got to work quickly.

On the very first play play from scrimmage for Wisconsin, junior quarterback Scott Tolzien unleashed a bomb to wide open Isaac Anderson for an 80-yard touchdown strike and a 7-0 lead.

Tolzien won the starting job over redshirt freshman Curt Phillips, who the spot locked up until inconsistency hit during the final week of practice.

Phillips did see his fair share of action though, going 3-for-5, and getting 34 yards rushing, while Tolzien was 15-for-20 for 257 and a that early touchdown.

Another late position switch was at running back, where sophomore John Clay was supposed to be the front runner over junior Zach Brown, but Brown slipped ahead.

Both saw playing time, and it was Clay who found the endzone twice, but neither impressed on the field.

Anderson and Tolzein were the standouts on offense, with Anderson amassing 100 yards receving and added a 23-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to give the Badgers an eventual 14-6 halftime advantage.

Wisconsin then used two methodical third quarter drives, both capped off by John Clay TD's, and looked to have the game in hand at 28-6.

Then the 2008 Badgers showed up. The team whose defense didn't know how to close out games.

Northern Illinois added a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, and another with under three minutes left and once again, it was a ball game at 28-20.

What made it hurt more is that Northern Illinois actually recovered the on- side kick and had a chance to tie the game.

Luckily, the Wisconsin defense was awake enough to not let that happen and were able to walk away being Bret Bielema's famous "1-0." All in all, this game was a lot closer than it should have been.

The good:

A win is win, so there's momentum off of that. Tight end Garrett Graham continued his success from last year with six catches for 82 yards. Sophomore Nick Toon became a crowd favorite and hauled in five catches for 72 yards. The very young and inexperienced defensive line and line backers looked fairly solid for its first time out on the field.

The bad:

The team needs to learn to close out an opponent when the opportunity rises. They also didn't record a single interception. Kicker Philip Welch still needs to work on accuracy. He may be a sophomore, but he was also the full-time kicker last year too.

Only time will tell on this team, but for now, all Badger fans should be pumped up that football season is finally upon them and relish in the fact that their team is undefeated.