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Big Ten Football: Wisconsin Badgers 2013 Season Review
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15 Jan 2014 01:28 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Melvin Gordon led the Big Ten with 7.8 yards per carry. (Image Source: Andy Manis/AP Photo)

Here’s a quick recap of the 2013 Wisconsin Badgers:

Preseason Expectations: The consensus on the Badgers heading into the season was a second-place finish behind Ohio State in the Leaders Division.   

Overachieve/Underachieve: At 9-4 and 6-2 in conference play…second place in the Leaders Division and a New Year’s Day bowl…Wisconsin pretty much ended up being who everyone though they’d be. Heading into their regular season finale against Penn State they were 9-2 and had a chance of exceeding expectations before they dropped their final two games.

Pivotal Game: At Ohio State. Wisconsin’s best chance to make a fourth-straight Rose Bowl was to upset the Buckeyes in Columbus. QB Joel Stave had maybe the best game of his career and WR Jared Abbrederis was all world, but a lack of explosive plays on the ground and a pair of miscues by the pass defense before the half were too much to overcome against OSU.

Leaders Division Season Reviews: Ohio State | Penn State | Indiana | Illinois | Purdue

Offensive MVP: RBs Melvin Gordon/James White: Gordon led Wisky with 1,609 yards and a rather impressive 7.8 YPC, but White wasn’t too far behind with 1,444 yards and 6.5 YPC. White scored 15 TDs and Gordon found the paint 12 times. The Badgers averaged nearly 300 yards per game on the ground led by Gordon and White, and everything they did fed off of that.

Defensive MVP: ILB Chris Borland: The senior led the Badgers with his 112 tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss. Borland stood out as both a leader and a playmaker. He covered ground well against the run, was a very reliable tackler and sprinkled in the ability to blitz against the pass. 

Trending: Wisconsin was coming off three-straight Big Ten titles and Rose Bowl trips, so in some ways the 2013 season could be viewed as a step back. However, in 2012, they were just 4-4 in conference play (8-6 overall) and finished third in the Leaders Division. They advanced to the Big Ten Championship game only because both Ohio State and Penn State were ineligible. Despite the poor finish, new headman Gary Anderson has the Wisconsin Badgers trending slightly upward, especially when you factor in their loss at Arizona State when they were robbed by the officials.

Looking to 2014: Expect more of the same from the Badgers next season. They will have a strong offensive line, and with Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement, the Big Ten’s top one-two punch at running back. They must replace all three starters along the defensive line, but the secondary loses just one piece and should be one of the best units in the conference. The key to getting better will be the throw game, specifically Joe Stave. Can he fully take advantage of the amount of attention the running game gets from opposing defenses? Because, he didn’t this season. If one or two pass-catching playmakers emerge that wouldn’t hurt either.

Big Ten Links:

Big Ten Football Final Power Rankings: Michigan State Represents in the Rose Bowl

One-On-One With Penn State Offensive Guard John Urschel

One-On-One: MSU LB Max Bullough Talks About Winning the Big Ten Championship

One-On-One: Michigan State’s Max Bullough Talks Playoffs & Defines Spartan Dawg

Q&A: Iowa’s James Morris Talks About the Perception of the Big Ten & Upcoming Playoffs

Q&A: James Morris Talks About Corralling the Program & New Year’s Day Bowl

Q&A: College Football Hall of Famer Orlando Pace, Ohio State Buckeyes

Q&A: College Football Hall of Famer Percy Snow, Michigan State Spartans

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. 

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