Wisconsin Football v. Oregon: 6 Quick Observations

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 01: Jack Coan #17 of the Wisconsin Badgers throws a pass against the Oregon Ducks during the first half in the Rose Bowl game presented by Northwestern Mutual at Rose Bowl on January 01, 2020 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 01: Jack Coan #17 of the Wisconsin Badgers throws a pass against the Oregon Ducks during the first half in the Rose Bowl game presented by Northwestern Mutual at Rose Bowl on January 01, 2020 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) /

It was a game that the Wisconsin Football team handed to Oregon and here are six quick observations from the disappointing loss.

Behind a strong defensive performance, some big returns from Aaron Cruickshank, and an offense that controlled the clock, the Wisconsin Football team simply dominated the Rose Bowl. Unfortunately, there were just too many turnovers for them to overcome as they handed the game to Oregon .

Without a doubt, this one is going to sting for some time and now having had the opportunity to rewatch the game, I come away with my seven quick observations from Wisconsin’s performance.

The Badger Defense was Great

Led by one of the top quarterback prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft, this was a very good Oregon offense this season. Their 35.9 points per game was the 15th most in college football and they ranked 24th overall in total offense. However, other than the opening drive of the game, this Wisconsin defense was able to shut them down.

Justin Herbert would pass for only 138 yards while throwing an interception and C.J. Verdell was held to just 2.9 yards per carry. Meanwhile as a team, the Ducks were 3-10 on third downs and finished with only 204 total yards. Overall the defense played great, but they couldn’t overcome the offensive miscues.

Jack Coan was solid

With Jonathan Taylor as the workhorse on this Badger offense, most of the time they don’t need Jack Coan to shoulder the burden and carry this team to victory. All they need is for him to be efficient and not turn the ball over. And for the most part, that is what he did against Oregon.

Against the stingy Oregon run defense it was tough sledding for Taylor so Coan was asked to do a bit more than usual. While he did throw the interception, overall he still completed 23/35 passes – or 66 percent – for 186 yards with a touchdown. And in addition to his stats, after two of the Badger turnovers, Coan responded well as he marched the offense down the field for two touchdowns.

This felt a lot like the Illinois game

As I alluded to above, the Wisconsin Football team dominated this game in just about every aspect, however, there were too many turnovers and penalties for them to overcome. On offense, Jack Coan would throw an interception, while Jonathan Taylor and Danny Davis would fumble. Then on special teams, punter Anthony Lotti would just simply drop the ball and Oregon picked it up for a touchdown.

In total the Ducks would score 21 points off of the four Wisconsin turnovers but it was the penalties that hurt as well. The Badgers were flagged nine times, totaling 79 penalty yards and for some context, Oregon was called for just two penalties. This was an uncharacteristically sloppy performance from the Badgers and it cost them the Rose Bowl.

Paul Chryst & Company called a fantastic game on offense

This was a very good Oregon defense that coming into the game gave up just 15.7 points per game, the eighth fewest in college football. That coupled with Jonathan Taylor struggling to get anything going on the ground and the Wisconsin offense had to get creative in their play calling if they were going to have any sort of success. And that is exactly what they did.

For one, with having to rely fairly heavily on Jack Coan’s arm, they did a great job of putting him in positions to succeed with the play calling. We also saw plenty of pre-snap motion and formation changes, along with some jet sweeps and reverses mixed in as well. Heck, we even saw a passing opportunity for Garrett Groshek.

And to top it off, like he’s been for much of the season, Paul Chryst was aggressive as he went for it on fourth down five times and he was rewarded with four conversions. I though that Chryst and his staff did a wonderful job against this Oregon defense.

See you on Sundays, Quintez

Quintez Cephus has to decide on whether he will come back to Madison for the 2020 season or enter the NFL draft. After missing the 2018 season, he could certainly help his draft stock by coming back to Wisconsin for one more season, but whichever option he chooses, it’s just a matter of time before we see him making plays on Sunday in the NFL.

Cephus is a well versed route runner, physical, and he is fantastic at making downfield adjustments in order to catch the football. In what is obviously a run-first offense, Cephus still totaled over 900 receiving yards in 2019 at over 15 yards per catch with seven touchdowns. And he capped off the season against Oregon with seven receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown. However, those stats don’t necessarily justify just how impactful he was in the Rose Bowl. Quintez Cephus is a certified playmaker.

Here’s to you, Jonathan Taylor

Although it wasn’t the usual explosive performance for Jonathan Taylor, against a stout Oregon run defense he still averaged 4.5 yards per carry and totaled 94 yards on the day. Taylor would finish his career with the Badgers by eclipsing the 2,000 yard mark for the second consecutive season and he will go down as one of the most productive college running backs in history.

Next. Wisconsin v. Oregon: Gut Reactions & Highlights. dark

The two-time Doak Walker Award winner and two-time first team All-American could really bust open the record books at the running back position if he came back for his final season, but it’s time to move on and whoever selects him in the draft will be getting a heck of a football player. Here’s to you, Jonathan Taylor and everything you’ve accomplished during your time at Madison.