Wisconsin-Michigan: Badgers Can't Escape 'The Big House' of Horrors
It was a tale of two halves in the Big Ten opener featuring the No. 9 Wisconsin Badgers against the rebuilding Michigan Wolverines.
It was a day in which the upset bug was grabbing hold of several top teams around the nation and wouldn't let go.
The upset bug first popped up in Corvallis, Oregon on Thursday night when No. 1 USC fell to the unranked Oregon State Beavers. It then made its way to the East Coast and took out No. 4 Florida (Ole' Miss 31-30), No. 16 Wake Forest (Navy 24-17), No. 20 Clemson (Maryland 20-17), and No. 23 East Carolina (Houston 41-24).
No. 15 Auburn put up a tough fight and escaped with a 14-12 victory over Tennessee.
To Wisconsin, the bug would do no different. The unranked and laughable Wolverines walked away with a 27-25 upset victory over a Top Ten team.
The Badgers started the game with an impressive drive, getting inside the ten yard-line, but Philip Welsh missed a 21-yard field goal.
Wisconsin got the ball back quickly off one of five first half turnovers by Michigan. Again, the Badgers got close to the endzone, but this time walked away with three points, and a 3-0 lead. If you're keeping track at home though, the score should've been 14-0.
To all the young footballers out there, the first half of this game is not the right way to play the game. Both quarterbacks looked lost when taking the snaps. The lone bright-side was that the Badgers defense was shutting down any and all Wolverine drives.
The Badgers somehow got in the endzone in the first half, thanks to the beast that is known in Madison as John Clay, and took a 19-0 lead in the half.
Leading at the half is one thing that Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema knows how to handle, well at least until this so-called "Upset Weekend". Bielema had a record of 19-0 when leading going into halftime, up until his trip to 'The Big House'.
Wisconsin had not won in Ann Arbor since 1994 under Barry Alvarez...let the streak continue.
Whatever Head Coach Rich Rodriguez said to his Wolverines in the locker room at the half worked, as Michigan was able to reel off 27 unanswered points and got a 27-19 lead in the fourth quarter. The Wolverines scored 20 points in the last quarter alone.
Wisconsin's offense completely disappeared in the second half and their defense wasn't able to stop a Michigan offense that looked like a Pop Warner team in the first half which gained only 21 yards on 24 plays. (Yes, that's less than a yard per play in half No.1).
Wisconsin out gained Michigan in total yards 384-270, and won the time of possession battle 36 minutes to 24, yet couldn't come away with the "W".
The Badgers had a chance to tie the game after quarterback Allan Evridge hit David Gilreath for a TD with 13 seconds to play. Going for two, Wisconsin had initially tied it up, but an "ineligible receiver down field" call cost the Badgers five yards and the two points.
So the Welsh missed field goal on the game's first drive was the eventual difference maker for the Badgers as they became the sixth ranked team to lose in week four of the college football season.
With Oklahoma, LSU, and South Florida still to play as I write this, I officially put all of them on upset alert. Even if these three can stay "healthy" and not catch this nationwide epidemic, the polls will definitely be getting a face-lift come Monday morning.
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