Sunday Morning Hangover: Where Have You Gone, Wisconsin Football?

(Ed. note: each Sunday morning the rest of the year I will present this column as a way to breakdown the game without the blinders of fresh emotion or the view from the press box)

There's no two ways about this, that loss still stings. It's hard to point a single good thing to take away from the game. The offense looked completely inept and a better offense puts up way more points than what Oregon State did against a defense that looked lost at times.

Put another way, the Badgers lost track of how to play "Wisconsin Football."

Wisconsin showcased zero ability to run the football against an Oregon State defensive line that wasn't exactly a stout bunch a season ago, going for just 35 yards rushing as a team. Average that out over 23 attempts and it's a whole 1.5 yards a carry. That's just a sampling from what was an awful football game all the way around.

Was there really anything positive to take away from this game?

Perhaps you could say at least the defense only gave up 10 points, but the flip side of that is that they missed countless opportunities to take advantage of balls that could've been intercepted or fumbled balls that wound up right back in the arms of a waiting Beavers player.

Not only that, but they gave up 354 yards of total offense and if it weren't for Oregon State's bad kicking situation and zero faith in him it could've easily been a 17 or 20 to 7 loss.

Perhaps you could point to the two minute drill that saw Wisconsin drive the ball for their only score of the game, but even that felt like a case of too little, too late. Especially after re-watching the game on my trusty DVR.

On the other side of the coin this offense couldn't pass it's way out of a paper bag at times, going just 2 of 14 on 3rd down attempts. O'Brien was an anemic 20 of 38 for just 172 yards passing with the one late touchdown and an interception. 

He also made some absolutely terrible decisions throwing the football and coming away with only one interception is a miracle, especially after watching this one over again. (Trust me, it wasn't any less painful the 2nd time around either)

Anemic is a great way to describe what we saw out of the Badgers offense period. Rushing for just 35 yards as a team (I know sacks are counted as rushing yards & that pushed the total down too) and only having our "Heisman hopeful" Montee Ball rush for 61 yards? 

Really? Really? That didn't get it done on Saturday and won't ever get it done in the Big Ten - well except against Indiana because let's face it that team is t-e-r-r-b-l (best Charles Barkley voice), but I digress. The point is, that's not "Wisconsin football," and the Badgers need to be successful on the ground to be successful in the win column too.

Taking a look at my twitter timeline during/after the game yesterday I saw a lot of people comparing this team to the 2000 Badgers or the 2008 Badgers, but if you ask me after re-watching the game, this team actually looks more like the 2001 version of the Badgers.

Some may say that's a bit harsh, but it's also the truth. That team finished with the last losing record for a Badger squad at 5-7 and it was because they couldn't figure out the running game (only Anthony Davis could run in the backfield), suffered a bunch of key injuries (more on that in a bit) and were down right awful at times at the QB position. (Remember the Bollinger/Sorgi debates? I do and I also remember an entire line of people waiting for a late night slice in Madison getting into that debate Halloween weekend - Yes I actually remember something from a Halloween weekend in Madison)

One thing that has to scare Badger fans more than anything else they saw on Saturday were the injuries. Jared Abbrederis was taken to the hospital following a nasty collision during the 2nd quarter of play and both Brendan Kelly and Shelton Johnson were taken out of the game with injuries as well.

All three are key cogs to Wisconsin being able to be a good football team in 2012. How important is Abbrederis? Just watch the game one more time and you'll notice that there weren't any receivers going deep, if a route did go deep it was Montee Ball or James White running it. If the Badgers are counting on Ball and White to be their deep threats in the future, this team is in some serious trouble.

One last take away from this game: Can the Badgers buy a video replay going their way? Sure, we don't know what camera angles the replay official got to see, but you'd have to assume that all angles were available to him, right? If so it's safe to say Wisconsin got totally screwed by a replay once again.

Kyle French did just about everything perfect following the Badgers touchdown, dribbling a great on-side kick that to everyone else, besides the one person that mattered, was touched by an Oregon State player, thus making French reach behind him before the 10 yards had passed and recovering what should've been Wisconsin's ball.

The problem with that whole scenario? The Badgers shouldn't have been in that situation to begin with. Yes, the officials blew the call, but more importantly Wisconsin blew so many other opportunities in the game that it shouldn't have come down to an onside kick with about 90 seconds left in the game.

Bottom line, if this team continues playing the way it did against Oregon State this very well could end up being one painful season to watch. Especially with hopes running high after back-to-back Rose Bowl appearances. It's time for this team to do some soul searching and figure things out quickly.

Play like they did yesterday afternoon and they will get beat by a very capable Utah State squad  this coming Saturday.

I haven't even scratched the surface of how bad this game actually was and for a more in-depth breakdown of this loss and how Wisconsin can rebound check out Badgers Power Hour this Tuesday night at 8:30pm Central on the Sports Intelligentsia Radio Network.

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, 32flags.com as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10.com