For about half the conference last Saturday. week two could not have been much worse. Penn State lost a second straight nail-biter with a 17-16 defeat at the hands of Virginia, which ended with Sam Ficken missing his fourth field goal of the day! The Nebraska defense gave up 653 yards to UCLA in their 36-30 loss. Iowa could only muster six points in their 9-6 defeat by Iowa State. Wisconsin had a dismal 35 yards rushing in their upsetting loss to Oregon State. And Purdue lost their fifthstraight game in a 20-17 heartbreaker to Notre Dame.
On top of those tough losses, Purdue QB Robert Marve, who was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA due to injury troubles, is out again with what appears to be a torn ACL. The Badgers will be without defensive back Shelton Johnson for some time; he broke his arm and had surgery on Sunday. Also, Jared Abbrederis, who took a hard hit in Saturday's loss, may miss a couple of games.
Even Indiana’s 45-6 win over Massachusetts was overshadowed with heartbreak as Indiana QB Tre Roberson was lost for the season with a broken leg.
Injuries are not the only downside from Saturday, however. To make matters worse for the underperforming Badgers, head coach Brent Bielema let go of offensive line coach Mike Markuson. Markuson’s replacement? Bart Miller, a graduate assistant in his second season with the Badgers.
Although the Badger front could not be performing much worse at the moment, I highly doubt it was because of their coach. Rather, the personnel on the field have been playing incredibly soft against lesser defensive lines. A complete inability to give Danny O’Brien any time in the pocket and a Heisman candidate any holes to run though is not going to be fixed with a different blocking scheme. We’ll see if this move by Bielema proves to be beneficial in the long run for the Badgers.
Although only two weeks have passed in this season, major issues have to be addressed by these teams if they don’t want to find themselves at the bottom of the barrel as the season evolves.
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