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Report Card: Wisconsin Badgers 23, Huskers 17

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Nebraska v Wisconsin Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

Hello, Madison Police?

I’d like report a mugging. Yes, ma’am. It happened at the eight yard line at Camp Randall Stadium. The victim’s name is Westerkamp.

The guy who did it? He was wearing a red jersey with the number 42 on it. About 6’5"; answers to the name of Watt.

OK, we can complain all we want about the non-call on third down in overtime. It may make us feel better about the loss, but it won’t change a dog-gone thing. Nebraska lost, and it sucks.

But then I remember how I was feeling a year ago on Halloween weekend. It’s one thing to go out there and put up your best effort of the season and come up a little short against a pretty damn good opponent.

It’s another to get trucked by Purdue.

So if would have told you at any time over the last year that Nebraska would be heading to Columbus with a 7-1 record, you’d be all smiles. Yes, 8-0 would be infinitely better. I get that, and that’s why Husker fans are disappointed.

But 7-1, with the loss being in overtime? I’ll take that. I’ll absolutely take that.

With that, on with the report card; as always, your comments are welcome below.

QB: I’m sure people are going to disagree with me on this, but I don’t think Tommy Armstrong played all that poorly. He didn’t play great, but remember this is a pretty darn solid Wisconsin defense he faced. Three of his passes were deflected at the line of scrimmage, and that wasn’t solely his fault. Wisconsin is in the top ten nationally in pass efficiency defense for a reason, and it’s not like they’ve played nobody this season. I would have liked to have seen Armstrong run a little more, but he might be more banged up than we know. In fact, I suspect that’s probably the case. Grade: C

I-Back: Wisconsin’s defense dropped from tenth to twelfth nationally against the rush, and I’ll give Terrell Newby a lot of credit for grinding things out on the ground. I think, though, it’s time to stop splitting his carries with Devine Ozigbo and just use Ozigbo to give Newby a rest. Newby is just playing better right now. Grade: B-

Wide Receivers: Stanley Morgan has been a quiet weapon most of the season, but wasn’t quiet in Madison. He’ll be a key weapon next season. Great to see Jordan Westerkamp back on the field making more clutch catches. Would have been better if he hadn’t been knocked to the ground on the second to last play of the game though. Grade: B+

Offensive Line: Nick Gates and David Knevel played better against Wisconsin than the week before against Purdue, but that still wasn’t enough to keep the pocket clean for Tommy Armstrong. Tanner Farmer’s injury is the latest blow to a banged up offensive line. Mike Cavanaugh isn’t going to have much of a choice now; he has to get guys like Jalin Barnett and Michael Decker (both redshirt freshmen) ready to go. Grade: B-

Defensive Line: Underrated was the play of Mick Stoltenberg, who had six tackles. Carlos Davis (a sack) and Kevin Maurice (3 tackles) also came up big on a good night for the Blackshirts. The defensive ends were extremely quiet, though; none made the stat sheet. Grade: B

Linebackers: Josh Banderas had his third excellent game in a row; for a guy who’s been inconsistently up and down throughout his Nebraska career, it’s great to see him finally put it together. Michael Rose-Ivey probably played even better. Marcus Newby had a key pass breakup to force a three-and-out on Wisconsin’s opening drive of the game. Dedrick Young did not have a good game, and may have left the game due to an injury. Grade: A-

Secondary: Nathan (effin’) Gerry. Seven unassisted tackles. Two interceptions. Big Ten defensive player of the week announcement on deck for Monday? It almost overshadowed some fine performances by the rest of the secondary. This grade is easy. Grade: A+

Unspecial Teams: Other than a relatively long Corey Clement punt return and Banderas’ false start on a punt, it was a clean special teams game. This season, that’s a sign of progress. Grade: B

Overall: B+ It was a loss, but it was Nebraska’s best performance of the year. There wasn’t a second quarter lapse like we've seen all season long. Nobody likes moral victories, but I’ll take solace in the fact the team went mano-a-mano against one of the best teams in the country.

Elsewhere in College Football

Baylor: F Exposed by first the Board of Regents investigation into the rape culture in the football program and then by Texas on the field.

Ohio State: D Didn’t you used to be a College Football Playoff contender?

Wyoming: A Don’t look now, but Craig Bohl’s squad is bowl eligible, and enters November in first place in their division after upsetting Boise State at home.