It wasn’t too pretty or exciting to watch at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday. Wisconsin Badgers’ offense put on an anemic display against FCS opponent Northern Iowa. The Badgers luckily escaped with a 26-21 win.
Although the score didn’t indicate it, the Badgers were quite efficient on the offensive side of the ball despite their lack of big play ability. They didn’t commit a turnover, scored on all four of their red zone chances, converted 56.3 percent (9-16) of their third-down attempts and held the ball for 39 minutes.
New offensive coordinator Matt Canada may have been pleased with the play of new transfer starting quarterback Danny O’Brien (19-23, 219 yards, 2 tds) and his ability to manage the game. But the truth is, if the Badgers are going to make it back to the Rose Bowl or Indianapolis for that matter, they’re going to need to put points on the board against some tough Big Ten defenses (MSU, PSU, OSU).
26 points (AT HOME) against an inferior opponent is not going to cut it. And deep down, Canada has to know that.
O’Brien’s biggest completions Saturday were throws of 22, 20 and 53 which was a touchdown to Jared Abbrederis off play-action, something the Badgers need to use more of with their talented running backs.
What’s made Wisconsin so successful in the past is their ability to run the ball and connect on big shots down the field. This year, the offense lacks a big play threat down the field. Abbrederis is going to draw a lot of attention from opposing defenses and will be difficult to run open every series.
Montee Ball is going to need some help getting the ball in the end zone. Even though he scored more touchdowns last season then some teams did, the Badgers cannot turn one demensional.
Oregon State will be ready for them this Saturday.
Will Wilson is a writer for Rant Sports covering College Football and the Big Ten Conference.