Wisconsin Head Coach Luke Fickell: Badgers “Had to Weather a Storm” Against Ohio State in 24-10 Defeat

By George Eisner on October 29, 2023 at 5:00 am

Following No. 3 Ohio State's 24-10 win over Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday night, Badgers head coach Luke Fickell addressed the media in the aftermath of his defeat. 

Fickell gave an opening statement expressing gratitude to his players for how they competed and executing the team's game plan going in until the final quarter.

“I thought we had a to weather a storm, make sure that first quarter we were in a good position. Just because of last year, because of some of those things that can creep into your head mentally... I thought it was really important for us to come out and play well, especially in the first quarter.”– LUKE FICKELL

The Wisconsin head coach went on to receive a few key questions regarding special teams, first having to confront a pair of punts from freshman Atticus Bertrams that gave the Buckeyes a short field in a game with narrow scoring. Fickell tried to take some heat off his young punter by explaining how the field position battle must be won across all phases.

“With the defense they got, where we were within everything... that's tough... to not be able to drive it out of there and find a way to kind of flip the field on us.”– LUKE FICKELL

Fickell then had to clarify if the leg injury Braelon Allen suffered affected his decision to kick a field goal at the end of the first half as opposed to going for a touchdown on 4th-and-short. After declaring the injury had no impact on the decision, the Buckeyes' former head coach made the point that to beat a team like Ohio State, you have to capitalize on scoring situations with points.

“We had to get points, we had to get positive momentum going into the halftime... those are the plays that in order to beat a team like that, you got to capitalize on in those situations. We just weren't able to do it.”– LUKE FICKELL

The Badger boss later received a question asking, “How much do game-changers make a difference?” Fickell had a fairly matter-of-fact response to this question before expanding on how a talent gap can become much worse between teams when injuries occur and other members of the depth chart fail to step up in a playmaking capacity.

On a night when Marvin Harrison Jr. outscored Wisconsin by himself, the contrast must have felt especially sharp for everyone present inside Camp Randall.

“Players make plays... they had two difference-makers that everybody knows about, but they were difference-makers again tonight. Those are the things you got to find... somebody else has to step up. Hoping that you have some of those play-makers. Just haven't had the opportunities just yet.”– LUKE FICKELL

On a final note in his press conference relative to Ohio State, Fickell spoke further on his concerns with his run defense. Given the recent struggles the Buckeyes have had in that department and TreVeyon Henderson's sporadic inactivity the last two seasons, the strong performance on the ground from OSU's offense against Wisconsin may have surprised some folks.

Fickell largely attributed the success to missed tackling from his defense, but also a good job by the Buckeyes in targeting the edge to spring big plays.

“the ones that hurt us, that's the big runs, I think we had some missed tackles or some bounce-offs, a couple of third downs where they throw a check-down... they find a way to get seven when they need seven or seven when they needed six.”– LUKE FICKELL

Now owning a 5-3 record while the race for the Big Ten West promises to become as chaotic as ever in November, Fickell and Wisconsin will look to move on quickly and bounce back on the road next week against the Indiana Hoosiers. The loss for the Badgers now has them in a four-way tie for their division at the moment with Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska.

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