Lucas' Last Word: Victory brings validation for high-flying Badgers

<b>Bret Bielema credited his team's resilient nature for the Badgers' third-consecutive Big Ten title.</b>


Bret Bielema credited his team's resilient nature for the Badgers' third-consecutive Big Ten title.

Dec. 2, 2012

After turning off the microphone as the analyst for the Badger Radio Network, UWBadgers.com Insider Mike Lucas offers some final thoughts on Wisconsin's 70-31 win over Nebraska at Lucas Oil Stadium.

BY MIKE LUCAS
UWBadgers.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- They call it the "Zebra'' formation; an exaggerated shift which is designed to put doubt into a defense. It worked to perfection; like just about everything else against Nebraska. This was the perfect storm, as the Rematch for Redemption was a mismatch.

It was not an old-fashioned butt-kicking as much as it was a "new'' fashioned butt-kicking in that the Badgers unveiled some new looks, and tweaked some old ones, which kept the Cornhuskers off balance and guessing from the very beginning.

Not only did Nebraska have trouble communicating on defense, but it couldn't tackle what it couldn't catch. The Badgers put their speed in space: Montee Ball, James White and Melvin Gordon and the Huskers were clueless in their adjustments.

The unorthodox formations compounded their problems.

Mike Lucas
MIKE LUCAS
UWBadgers.com Insider
mlucas@uwbadgers.com

The aforementioned Zebras featured tight end Sam Arneson over the ball, along with quarterback Curt Phillips and fullback Derek Watt. Everybody split wide. There were multiple options on the play, including Phillips' pass to Watt that was good for a first down.

It was one of many formations that kept the Cornhuskers on their heels. They never did figure out the "Barge,'' from which James White ran and passed for touchdowns. White was a Wildcat quarterback at times, but he had never before attempted a throw in a game.

But it worked.

Just like Jared Abbrederis' throw-back pass to quarterback Curt Phillips. In this case, Abbrederis was a high school quarterback who was initially recruited to be the UW's scout team QB.

You would have thought the Huskers would have seen this one coming. In last season's Big Ten championship game, Ball completed a pass to Russell Wilson. Then, again, it's not surprising that Nebraska got caught flat-footed .

Matt Canada's game plan left them dumb-founded all night.

It's one thing to utilize window dressing. It's another thing to execute.

The Badgers' execution on offense was nearly flawless.

The tailbacks weren't the only ones to make a statement.

So did the offensive line, which had struggled in the second half at Lincoln.

From start to finish, the Badgers were flying.

That was best illustrated by one of Ball's touchdowns.

On defense, Wisconsin got multiple players to the ball.

Taylor Martinez looked uncomfortable every time he dropped back to throw.

Another game plan executed to perfection.

Some players talked about making a statement in Indianapolis on Saturday night. Some talked about validation. All talked about the Rose Bowl, the perfect ending for that perfect storm.

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