MADISON — Wisconsin is 1-3 for the first time since 1990 following an ugly 38-17 loss to No. 14 Michigan on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium.
Offense: Chimere Dike
There wasn’t a ton to be excited about offensively for Wisconsin but the best looking drive of the day came with Dike playing a big role. With the Badgers trailing 13-3 just before halftime, quarterback Graham Mertz hit Dike down the middle of the field for a 36-yard gain. On the next play, Mertz tossed another ball to Dike, this one in the back corner of the end zone that the wide receiver was able to pull in despite tight coverage for an 18-yard touchdown.
Dike was targeted just once more in the game.
Defense: Jack Sanborn
The Badgers leader in the middle of the defense finished with a team-high 13 tackles. A Michigan offense that came in averaging 290 yards per game on the ground finished with 112 against Wisconsin. The Wolverines averaged just 2.5 yards per carry and the longest rush of the game was eight yards. Sanborn’s tackle numbers were two more than he had in the first three games combined, as Wisconsin was on the field for a season-high 75 plays.
— Wisconsin lost starting quarterback Graham Mertz in the third quarter when a defensive back came free on a blitz and drilled in the side of his chest. He was able to eventually walk off under his own power but he went to the locker room and later to the hospital for further tests.
Mertz was sacked three times and took several more big shots as Wisconsin’s offensive line did not hold up under the pressure of Michigan’s front seven. Still, he had two of his best drives of the season at the end of the first half. He went 6-for-8 on a drive that led to a field goal and then hit on back-to-back big throws to Chimere Dike, including an 18-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 13-10 at the break.
Chase Wolf replaced him and ended up turning the ball over twice and also threw a late touchdown to Clay Cundiff.
— Tight end Jake Ferguson were forced to leave the game with a chest injury in the third quarter and eventually went to the locker room. He came back out without his pads on and had is chest wrapped in ice.
— The Badgers special teams struggled again Saturday. Hunter Wohler didn’t get out of the way of a punt, with the ball hitting him and Michigan recovering inside the 5-yard line. Wisconsin’s defense held the Wolverines to a field goal. Then, after the Badgers had cut the lead to 10-3 late in the first half, kickoff specialist Jake Van Dyke kicked the ball out of bounds. It gave the Wolverines the ball at the 35-yard line and they were able to add a field goal to scoreboard more easily.
— Wisconsin honored former coach and athletic director Barry Alvarez for his 31 years of service to the school with a halftime ceremony. They also officially named the field for him. Starting in 2022 it will be known as Barry Alvarez Field at Camp Randall Stadium.
6 – That’s how many sacks Wisconsin’s offensive line gave up. It was another nightmare effort for a group the Badgers usually count on so much to be successful. In addition to pass protection issues, Wisconsin managed just 43 yards on 33 carries against a defense it had run for at least 300 yards in each of the last two meetings.
0-8 – That’s Wisconsin’s record in its last eight games against ranked opponents, including 0-3 this season. In those eight games, the Badgers are averaging 12.3 points per game. They also fell to 3-13 in their last 16 games against ranked teams.
49-7 — That’s what Wisconsin has been outscored by in the fourth quarter of its last two games. The 49 points is also 22 points more than the Badgers have scored in those two losses combined.
1990 – That’s the last time Wisconsin started a season 1-3. It was Barry Alvarez’s first year on the job and the team went 1-10. The Badgers have had just four losing seasons since then and none since 2001.
Wisconsin (1-3, 0-2) will travel to Champaign next Saturday to face former Badgers coach Bret Bielema and Illinois (2-4, 1-2).