Game ball goes to runningback James White

The freshman backup was one of the few bright spots on offense, rushing for 98 yards and two touchdowns. His 34-yard touchdown run in the third quarter got the Badgers back in the game and was a testament to his speed. He started to go left, then cut back to his right and still got around the corner and raced into the end zone.

Thumbs up to defensive end J.J. Watt

The defense clearly can't afford to take the junior off the field. He was about the only player on defense making plays on third down, finishing with a career-high 10 tackles, his first sack of the season, 21⁄2 tackles for loss and a pass breakup.

Thumbs down on third down

UW's offense converted only 3 of 11 on third downs. The tone was set on the first series, when wide receiver Nick Toon — back after missing three games with an injury — dropped a third-down pass and left tackle Gabe Carimi was called for holding on the play. The defense allowed 9 of 18 third-down conversions, including three on the game-clinching touchdown drive by Michigan State.

How the team sees it

One loss doesn't knock it out of the Big Ten Conference title race, but it makes it extremely difficult, especially coming in the opener.

How the fans see it

Another season of great expectations comes to an early crash landing. UW was supposed to have the leadership to avoid something like this.

How the coaches see it

The Badgers were a shaky No. 11, given uneven performances in their first four games. But they have chances for redemption coming up against Ohio State and Iowa.

 

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