The start to 2019 makes every Badger fan happily forget about last year's 8-5 finish. However, some may want to still look back to 2018 to make this season even sweeter. After avenging last season's loss to Michigan with a 35-14 win, the Badgers continued their big ten redemption tour with a 24-15 win over Northwestern.
Both programs entered today tied at 14-14 in the all-time series and Paul Chryst's aggression from last week carried into this game. Facing fourth down on Wisconsin's opening drive, Jonathan Taylor found the endzone behind the UW jumbo package to take a 7-0 lead.
Although Taylor finished with 119 rushing yards, his first ever 100 yard game against Northwestern, the offenses sputtered the rest of the game.
That's when the nation's top ranked defense stepped up.
In the third quarter, Safety Eric Burrell blitzed off the edge forcing a sack and fumble, where Matt Henningsen fell on the ball in the endzone for his second touchdown of the game.
Then with Wisconsin up 17-3 to begin the fourth quarter, linebacker Zack Baun got to Northwestern's Aiden Smith just in time to force a bad pass and was picked off by Wisconsin's Noah Burks. The linebacker took the interception 68 yards for a 24-3 lead.
As the defense picked the offense up when they were struggling, Paul Chryst loved what he saw from senior linebacker Chris Orr, "He cares a ton about his teammates and loves playing and he's been really fun to be around. You appreciate it everyday. It truly is everyday like that. And it's a heck of a gift to give to everybody."
"This is the ultimate team game..." began Orr. "There's going to be some games, hopefully not, this is college football. Everybody is on scholarship everybody is playing big time football. There's going to be other great players other great coaches. We just know that we need to step up if our offense is struggling. If we're struggling our offense will know that they need to step up or we need a spark on special team."
Next week the Badgers will take a break from Big Ten play and welcome Kent State to Camp Randall for their fourth of five consecutive home games. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 AM with NBC 15 hosting Badger Bash at Union South starting at 8:30 AM.