Fruehauf Going Off

Story by Steve Fruehauf, Copy Editor

After fighting their way back into the last slot of the nation’s top 25, the Badgers lost an overtime 16-13 heartbreaker at the hands of Michigan State on Saturday. Along with the loss, Wisconsin ended their Camp Randall winning streak of 21 games, allowing their first home loss since 2009.
The low scoring game ended after the Spartans’ Andrew Maxwell tossed a 12 yard TD to Bennie Fowler in overtime.

Maxwell finished the game with 216 yards passing along with 2 touchdowns. Both teams, who usually rely more on their run games, seemed to let moving the ball through the air take precedence this game.

Stave, who played the whole first half but just one play in the second, accumulated 127 yards and a touchdown to tight end Jacob Pedersen. On the opening play of the third quarter, the Badger starting quarterback took a hard hit and came up injured. The team called it a collarbone injury and he didn’t return to the game. It was confirmed later that day that the bone was broken and he would be sidelined for the rest of the season.

Danny O’Brien, Wisconsin’s original season starter, took over for the remainder of the game. He finished with just 44 yards passing.

As for the running game, Montee Ball and the Wisconsin running backs appeared very ineffective. Ball, who ran for over 300 yards in his last two games, only rushed for 46 in the Spartan loss. James White contributed just 16 yards also. Michigan State Le’Veon Bell didn’t do much better though. He finished the night with 77 yards rushing.

Regardless, it was Wisconsin’s game to lose. With a minute and a half left in the fourth quarter, the Badgers were ahead by a touchdown. The Spartans had the ball and up to that point the defense had handled Maxwell’s passing game. But with a minute and eight seconds left, he was able to squeak a five yard pass to Bell in the end zone to tie things up.
Pushing the game to overtime, Wisconsin was limited to just a field goal. The Spartans were then able to move the ball down the field for a game winning touchdown pass.

With the loss of the breakout Wisconsin passer, I fear that most hopes of the team doing anything else productive this season are dismal. We have all seen O’Brien perform with this team. He is unproductive. He had a half to seal the deal against a heavy rival in the Spartans in this game specifically but he was unable to do anything with the offense.

The Badgers play Indiana next week and it’s no surprise to where the ball will be headed now that Stave is out for the season. Montee Ball has a huge target on his back now. The guy is productive as can be, but now he has the full load of the team’s offense on his shoulders. If he can’t handle that the season is all but over. One thing is for sure, if he wants the Badgers to get another victory, he can’t have another game like he did this week.