Taking A Look Back At Wisconsin’s Loss To Minnesota

This morning after church, I decided to rewatch Wisconsin’s loss to Minnesota yesterday with so much on the line, including, more importantly, the Axe.

I still cannot believe yesterday actually happened. What the hell happened to both the offense and defense?

I may or may not have eaten a huge bowl of ice cream while telling myself I can’t wait to start my diet on Monday. Then I laughed at how ridiculous I sounded talking to myself. I’m still sad.

This picture is still a mood (sorry, Brian Butch):

If you weren’t sure of whether nightmares were real, well, I’ll show you a picture of what literal nightmares look like:

With yesterday’s loss, Iowa won the Big Ten West division and will play Michigan on Saturday in the Big Ten Championship game.

The Big Ten Championship game began in 2011. This is the first time Wisconsin has gone two consecutive seasons without playing in the B1G Title game since it began a decade ago.

Here are a few quick takeaways after reliving the nightmare:

The offensive line did not play well, similarly to how they played the first four games. UW couldn’t get anything going in the run game and that was a big problem for Mertz and the offense.

Braelon Allen was not even close to 100-percent yesterday, and hasn’t been for the last couple weeks for that matter. Unfortunately, it finally caught up to him at the worst possible time. For those that weren’t aware, Allen had a 2021 spring season for his high school this spring since the coronavirus delayed the Fall 2020 season.

Allen last night said he is beat up at this point in the season: “I’ve been having trouble with both legs, different parts of both legs throughout the year. Glad now I can get an opportunity to rest up, recover and get my body back to 100 percent.”

But he also said he didn’t think how he’s feeling impacted his usage yesterday: “No, I don’t think so. Just really couldn’t get anything going. It was tough in there for sure.”

Did Paul Chryst abandon the run game too early?

Like I wrote last night, you have to give PJ Fleck and Minnesota credit (it pains me to say that). Their game plan was phenomenal and they executed it and Wisconsin didn’t adjust to it.

The defense looked mortal again yesterday.

One thing I would absolutely love for Paul Chryst to do this offseason is to bring in a good experienced quarterback to compete for the starting spot.

Chase Wolf is a good kid and a decent backup, but he’ll never realistically compete with Mertz for the starting position.

I’m not saying that I’m giving up on Mertz, but as that saying goes, “competition brings the best out of us” and I think Mertz needs that type of competition.

It didn’t take long after the loss last night to Minnesota for those keyboard warriors online to make program-wide changes. It was shades of what we saw after the 1-3 start: “Fire Paul Chryst.” “Paul Chryst’s offense can’t win anything.” “Why are people content with eight win seasons,” and so on.

The fact of the matter is this: Paul Chryst is a phenomenal head football coach and he has indeed elevated this program in his seven seasons (it’s true, look it up).

Since Chryst has took over the program, anything less than a 10-win season hasn’t been acceptable. We’ve never had standards like that since Barry Alvarez took over in 1990.

I’m not going to pull an Aaron Rodgers and tell everyone “relax.”

Yes Wisconsin lost a football game yesterday. A lot of things went into it, poor execution, some questionable play calls on both sides of the ball, some terrible officiating and a season that had so much promise as we entered the season has become a classic Wisconsin ending.

Firing Paul Chryst is NOT the answer. This program is NOT going in the tank and we don’t need Jimmy Leonhard to suddenly be named head coach. Decisions like that are how you quickly become the likes of Nebraska and lose every bit of relevance your program once had (See: Nebraska and Bo Pelini).

This is not a football program that can just change its entire philosophy and start hiring the Chip Kelly’s of the world (don’t get me started on Chip Kelly). It’s Wisconsin, where in-state recruiting sees great offensive lineman and linebackers. The program needs to get better at maximizing that talent and putting players in a better position to succeed.

Let Paul Chryst continue to work with Graham Mertz and let’s hope his growth and development accelerates this offseason.

Yes, I am a big Jimmy Leonhard fan and I think he’ll make a great head coach in the college game one day. However, now is not that time.

There is my take. Now you can continue to yell at me and be keyboard warriors.

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