Wisconsin 42, Wake Forest 28. The 10 ten things you need to know about the Badger win over the Demon Deacons in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.
Wisconsin 42 Wake Forest 28: Duke’s Mayo Bowl
10. It’s amazing how good, talented coaches are able to game plan for the start of a bowl, it all works, and then come the adjustments and everything stops. That sort of happened for Oklahoma State against Miami in the Cheez-It Bowl, but the Cowboys were able to hang on. Wake Forest and head coach Dave Clawson came out rocking, everything clicked, and Wisconsin looked totally lost. It was 14-0 Demon Deacons after the first quarter, and then …
9. Wisconsin went Wisconsin. This isn’t the normal Badger team – there was no Jonathan Taylor the of running back, and the receiving corps was gutted over the second half of the season – but it all worked because of the …
8. Badger defense – it figured it out. It got in the throwing lanes of Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman, it forced four interceptions, and the team steamrolled through the second half as it pulled away in stunning fashion. Wisconsin LB Jack Sanborn led the team with 11 tackles two tackles for loss and an interception as the Duke’s Mayo Bowl MVP.
Compared to how the team looked in the first quarter, it was among the wildest turnarounds – it was the biggest bowl comeback in Wisconsin history – of the bowl season.
— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) December 30, 2020
7. The Wake Forest style was a miserable fit for this game over the long haul. Quickness and an up-tempo attack screws up the Badger D over the years – Wisconsin struggles with crafty quarterbacks and precision passing games – but there has to be some element of ball control or else the Wisconsin system wears teams down. And …
6. The time of possession battle matters. This was supposed to be lopsided Wisconsin’s way, but it wasn’t quite as bad as it should’ve been considering Wake Forest only held the ball for 28 minutes per game. The Badgers had it for eight more minutes, but it could’ve been a whole lot worse.
5. Again, the takeaways. Wake Forest came into the Duke’s Mayo Bowl second in the nation in turnover margin. Take the ball away from the Badgers, and good things tend to happen. A muffed punt snap deep its own territory, and the four Hartman interceptions killed Wake Forest. Wisconsin turned it over once, but it was at the end of the first half on a relatively last gasp deep throw.
So close to a pick-six‼️ pic.twitter.com/Ch78XUCGws
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) December 30, 2020
4. How weird was this game? Wake Forest came up with 518 yards of total offense. The Badgers hadn’t allowed more than 338 all year, and no one has come up with more yards against the UW D since Ohio State blew out 558 in the 59-0 win in the 2014 Big Ten Championship.
Nebraska came up with 518 in a loss to the Badgers in 2018, but still, this was an impressive offensive day from the Demon Deacons. Wisconsin only gained 266 yards and only outgained Wake Forest 122 yards to 111 on the ground.
3. Wake Forest leading receiver Jaquarii Roberson came into the game with 54 catches for 795 yards and five touchdowns. He wore the Wisconsin secondary as a hat, catching eight passes for 131 yards and three scores, and Donavon Greene caught six passes for 122 yards. There was a whole lot of bending by the Badger D, but again, the turnovers made up for the issues.
2. Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz did his job. Considering Wisconsin just doesn’t have any wide receivers, completing 11-of-17 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown was okay, and not throwing any picks was great. He was careful, didn’t force anything, and he let the defense do the rest. He also powered his way for two short touchdown runs.
1. Wisconsin continues to be one of those programs that is just amazing enough to get close to the elite, but can’t quite get over the top. It can’t beat Ohio State in Big Ten championships, and it hasn’t been able to win Rose Bowls when it has had its chances, but under head coach Paul Chryst, it’s now 5-1 in bowl games with the blemish that strange close loss to Justin Herbert and Oregon in last year’s Rose Bowl. Don’t take this for granted.
Wisconsin had a run from the 2008 Outback to the 2014 Capital One going 1-6 in Bowl games. Gary Andersen left, Barry Alvarez took over against Auburn in the 2015 Outback, and since then, the program has just that one Rose Bowl loss in the post season.