Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Grading the Badgers: Graham Mertz’s better play raises coach Paul Crist’s mark

Jim Polzin grades the performance of the Wisconsin Badgers in their 52-3 win over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at SHI Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey on Saturday.

University of Wisconsin freshman tailback Brelon Allen speaks to the media after the Badgers beat the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 52-3 at SHI Stadium on Saturday, November 6, 2021 in Piscataway, NJ.



Offense: B Plus

UW shot themselves in the foot with penalties and turnovers early in the game, but bounced back to produce their highest point in a Big Ten game since scoring 59 versus Nebraska in 2014. Quarterback Graham Mertz threw an interception on the first possession but flushed that mistake out of his system and matched his season high with 240 yards to go with three points. The Badgers finished with 18 plays of 10 or more yards, nine each on the ground and through the air.

Defense: A-minus

Rutgers went to the safety of Scott Nelson twice at the start of the game. Bo Melton beat him for a 35-yard reception, but Nelson came into the next series with a deep-ball pass breakup. In addition to allowing two chunk plays, UW’s run defense was once again strong. Plus, the Badgers matched their season high with three interceptions.

University of Wisconsin senior linebacker Jack Sanborn speaks to the media after the Badgers beat the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 52-3 at SHI Stadium on Saturday, November 6, 2021 in Piscataway, NJ



Special Teams: B

Colin Larsh’s streak of seven consecutive field goals ended early in the second quarter when he missed a 35-yard effort. A fumble forced by kicker Jack Van Dyke and retrieved by Alexander Smith was a huge play as it gave the Badgers a short field that turned into a touchdown and a 17-3 cushion.

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