NCAA Football

Wisconsin football offensive grades: Run the game’s stars on windy, rainy days at Camp Randall Stadium

Wisconsin football offensive grades: Run the game’s stars on windy, rainy days at Camp Randall Stadium

The Wisconsin badgers had a strong victory against the Maryland Terrapinsdominating with a 23-10 romp at Camp Randall Stadium to push the Badgers into second place in the Big 10 West.

With the poor weather conditions, the passing game took a back seat while the running backs led a strong effort on the ground to get the Badgers off to a fast start.

Here are the Badgers’ offensive grades in Week 10.

Quarterback: C-

Graham Mertz struggled through the air, completing just 5/18 passes for 77 yards on the day.

However, Mertz suffered through severe weather conditions, which significantly limited the passing game as the wind seemed to disrupt several throws.

There was one stretch of the game where the weather was good enough for the passing attack to get going, but Mertz had his inaccuracies during that stretch, which slowed Wisconsin’s offense for half the game.

But, it’s good to see Mertz trust his receivers to keep throwing throws downfield, which resulted in a pass interference penalty on a well-placed ball to Keontez Lewis.

Overall, while the passing numbers were poor, it’s hard to take much out of this game for Mertz given the conditions, as both aerial attacks struggled significantly on Saturday.

With the windy and rainy weather, it was clear that this game would be orchestrated on the ground for most of the time.

Wisconsin had a great rushing attack, gaining nearly 300 yards while averaging 6.7 yards per carry, though Maryland knew the Badgers would use the ground game significantly.

Braelon Allen led the way with 119 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries, but backup Isaac Guerendo had a monster game with 114 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.

Allen continues to improve as the season progresses, identifying holes more quickly while expressing patience for shooters to latch onto their blocks before crashing the running lane.

But Guerendo continues to show why he should receive consistently, adding an 89-yard touchdown run with help from Chimere Dike as a blocker after hitting the rim quickly.

Guerendo’s speed is unlike anyone at the running back position, which is why I’ve been clamoring for weeks for the Badgers to use him more in the backfield, given the balance he provides with Allen, who is a powerful runner between the tackles

NCAA Football: Maryland at Wisconsin

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With just five completions, the receivers didn’t see much action in the passing game as only Chimere Dike and Keontez Lewis were targeted for the Badgers.

However, Skyler Bell had a big impact in that game, rushing for 53 yards on two jet sweeps that led to first downs.

Bell’s speed and ability after the catch have made him a prime candidate to jet sweep every game, which has added an extra element to Wisconsin’s motion offense under Bobby Engram.

For the second week in a row, Mertz and Lewis struggled to connect consistently as the duo completed just one completion on five targets, but the confidence doesn’t seem to have waned like it did the first time. UCLA the receiver continues to see significant action in the receiving game.

The Badgers limited their skill position players’ mistakes without dropping receivers in this game, hence the B grade despite the limited action.

No tight end earned a single target in Saturday’s scrimmage, despite the return of tight end Hayden Rucci from an injury suffered weeks earlier.

But Rucci was an integral piece in Wisconsin’s rushing attack, serving as a key blocker on Skyler Bell’s 36-yard gain on a jet sweep.

With Rucci back in the fold, Wisconsin’s offensive line should be relieved of some pressure, while the offense can be more diverse, as the tight end is essentially a jumbo offensive lineman in some plays with ability to catch passes.

With Rucci and backup Jack Eschenbach, the Badgers are now more isolated at tight end after it was just the tight end and tight end Jaylan Franklin against Purdue.

Perhaps the Badgers’ best position group this weekend, the offensive line was firing on all cylinders against the Terrapins.

In a game that was decided on the ground, the offensive line created several opportunities for running backs to operate, and executed well enough to create several big plays.

In the passing game, Graham Mertz had plenty of time to ease the pocket, which had been a problem at times in past weeks.

The offensive line had another change in the starting lineup, as Tanor Bortolini replaced Tyler Beach at left guard, while Trey Wedig slid into the right guard spot to accommodate Riley Mahlman.

Despite the turnover, the offensive line performed well and worked on cohesion between them, which was vital given the weather conditions.

With players returning at full strength in the front five, Wisconsin is working to unleash the potential that this squad had at the start of the season.



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