Penn State’s Bill O’Brien gets the best of the Wisconsin Badgers again


Christian Hackenberg, Bill O' Brien

For the second consecutive season, the Wisconsin Badgers were out-coached by Penn State’s Bill O’Brien.

O’Brien had the Badgers defense confused on numerous occasions in a 31-24 upset win at Camp Randall.

Wisconsin’s coach Gary Andersen summed it up by saying, “we were schemed up by a very good football coach.”

Allen Robinson vs. UW

What It Means: When Andersen mentioned they were schemed up, he was talking about instances where Penn State changed the pace of the game and installed unknown packages. The Badgers were so confused that there were a couple of occasions where they played with only nine guys on the field.

This is a tough loss to swallow for the Badgers who were in line for a possible BCS-bowl bid. That idea can be thrown out the window as they are looking at best a New Years Day Bowl. The Capital One Bowl (second-best Big Ten team) is probably unlikely with the loser of the Big Ten Championship Game between Ohio State and Michigan State landing there. The Outback Bowl (third-best Big Ten team) seems like the best match for the 9-3 Badgers at this point.

Player of the Game: Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg (21/30 for 339 yards and four touchdowns)

It’s always a bad sign when an opposing player is named the “performer of the week,” but no Badgers were worthy of receiving the honor over him. The true freshman had the best game of his career under the lights in front of a hostile crowd.

On the other side, the Badgers Joel Stave threw an astonishing 53 passes, only 29 of them completed and three intercepted. While he also posted a career-high 339 yards passing, he was off for most of the night and missed a lot of open receivers.

Highlight of the Game: Jack Russell’s 48 yard field goal with 4:13 remaining in the fourth quarter to make it a one-score game was possibly a sign of hope for the future of the Badgers kicking game. It was Russell’s career-long by an entire 10 yards.

Stat of the Game (3,396): Melvin Gordon (13 carries for 91 yards) and James White (13 carries for 56 yards) combined to bring the team’s 2013 rushing total to 3,396 yards. That’s a school record, breaking last year’s mark of 3,309 yards.

What’s Next: This is where Badgers fans wait and enjoy the Big Ten Championship Game next weekend. For the first time ever, Wisconsin will not play in the B1G Game and they will have to patiently wait to see where they end up for a bowl game. Worst-case scenario would be the Outback Bowl and best-case would be the Capital One Bowl.

Were you shocked by the Badgers loss on Saturday Night? What do you think of the job Bill O’Brien has done at Penn State? Let me know by commenting below.

Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He also enjoys sharing Fantasy Advice and pretends to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best. If social media is not your thing, shoot him an email at

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