On Saturday, the Wisconsin Badgers were stuffed on three attempts on the goal line. How did that happen to a team like Wisconsin?
Visiting Florida Atlantic (FAU) had just exploited a breakdown in the Wisconsin secondary to halve the Wisconsin lead. The Badgers were leading 14-7 in the 1st quarter on Saturday.
Bucky promptly responded like the highly ranked favorite needed too. Starting at its own 25 Wisconsin marched methodically with some good running by Jonathan Taylor and Chris James.
Alex Hornibrook connected with Troy Fumagalli twice on the drive. A 3rd down completion to Quintez Cephus put WIsconsin in 1st-and-goal from the FAU 6. Here’s what happened next.
- 1st down: Taylor runs to the FAU 2
- 2nd down: Taylor pushes for a yard to the FAU 1
- 3rd down: Taylor bottled up for no gain
- 4th down: see 3rd down
Credit the Milwaukee Journal with a nice write up of the sequence. Ultimately, Wisconsin strung together 11-plays for 74-yards burning 5:58 off the clock. Yet, the Badgers were turned away a the goal line.
The epilogue here is the defense stood up and forced a quick punt that set up Wisconsin inside the FAU 40. The Badgers quickly scored a touchdown to double the advantage.
But how in the world does a brawny offensive line like Wisconsin get stoned by FAU three times from the 2-yard line?
For one thing, Wisconsin didn’t exactly disguise its intentions, using three TEs on every play. There was also limited pre-snap motion and shifting to confuse the FAU front.
The Owls were gambling on defense all game. FAU called lots of run blitzes trying to guess the right spot where the ball carrier would end up.
In fact, it’s possible the big size advantage in such short yardage doesn’t always help. Wisconsin trying to pull a guard around or kick a tackle wide can open space for undersized but quick defenders to submarine the Badger front.
Both Green Bay Packer and Seattle Seahawk fans saw the short, stout Mike Daniels do this a lot on Sunday.
In addition, using such a heavy personnel package obviously adds a lot of beef. But it makes the defensive play call obvious. Everybody crammed in the box and not worried about pass.
Especially relevant, Alex Hornibrook isn’t mobile enough to burn you on a naked bootleg. So just crash the line of scrimmage and get underneath the tall Wisconsin offensive lineman to close off any avenues for the runner.
But Wisconsin might consider putting some receivers out there (including a big target like Fumagalli) just to draw defenders away from the ball. In addition, some jet sweep action could divert an additional defender.
Certainly no alarm bells need ringing. Notably, the offensive line is still huge and be just fine at the goal line. However, it was a shocking failure for an offense built for that exact sequence.
On Saturday, the Wisconsin Badgers were stuffed on three attempts on the goal line. How did that happen to a team like Wisconsin? Visiting Florida Atlantic (FAU) had just exploited a breakdown in the Wisconsin secondary to halve the Wisconsin lead. The Badgers were leading 14-7 in the 1st quarter.