While it’s true that online bookmakers try to make their predictions as accurate as possible, it’s also true that predicting college football can be a tricky affair. Testament to this fact is the outcome of the contest between the LSU Tigers and the Wisconsin Badgers. The NCAA betting odds had sided with the preseason AP polls and had No. 5 LSU pegged as the favorites with -380 odds. The Tigers were also coming in with an FBS record 52 non-conference win streak and it’s safe to say they were the all around favorites to win this ballgame. However, Wisconsin proved that Lambeau Field is a magical place overcoming turnovers, late hits, and the nation’s No. 5 team to come out on top 16-14.
LSU had a lot to prove in this contest. They’re the nation’s No.5 team and they have arguably the best runningback in all of college football. However, if Fournette cannot put up a better performance than he did on Saturday, then there is a 0% chance Fournette will win the Heisman at the end of the year. LSU finished the day with a mere 126 rushing yards on 29 attempts with 4.3 yards per carry average. 4.3 might fly in the NFL where defenses are much more competitive, but it isn’t enough to be considered outstanding at the collegiate level. Online bookmakers and fans alike consider Fournette to be a front runner to win the Heisman at the end of the year, but if he isn’t able to lead LSU to better days on the ground, then the award will have to go to a more deserving candidate.
The game was not much of an offensive shootout and most highlights feature either a turnover or a late hit. The game featured 8 turnovers in total, 4 made by both teams. The first was a turnover on downs that Wisconsin made after failing to convert on 4th down deep in Tigers territory. After an LSU punt Wisconsin would once again turn the ball over, this time due to an interception. Neither team would capitalize and after trading punts the Tigers turned the ball over via fumble. 9 plays later Wisconsin would score the first points of the game by draining a 30 yard field goal.
LSU would not be able to respond even though they were desperate enough to attempt a 4th down conversion. The conversion failed and the Badgers gained possession, ultimately ending a 5 play drive with another field goal. LSU tried to score a last second touchdown but their pass ended up being intercepted. Wisconsin went into the half up 6-0.
LSU got the ball back to start the second half but were unable to score any points. After receiving the punt Wisconsin would put together a 5 play drive that ended in the game’s first touchdown. They were able to capitalize on the series but failed to convert the extra point attempt. Down 13-0 LSU was desperate to get points on the board, which they were able to do, however they had to rely on their defense. After the Tiger’s offense sputtered once again LSU was forced to punt. Wisconsin’s next series ended in a pick-6 as LSU’s Tre’Davious White was able to return the pick 21 yards for a touchdown. Wisconsin got the ball back again but once again turned the ball over. LSU capitalized on the fumble and scored a touchdown within 2 plays bringing the game within one possession, 13-14.
The game would end with the teams trading punts over the next 4 series and ultimately Wisconsin was able to put together a drive that ended on a 47 yard field goal going up 16-14. The result would be cemented on the next drive when an LSU interception officially sealed the Tigers fate, ultimately proving that online bookmakers can make mistakes like the rest of us.
LSU’s frustration was evident especially when senior guard Josh Boutte delivered a late, cheap hit on Wisconsin’s safety D’Cota Dixon. The play had been blown dead but Boutte flew in leveling the defensive back who weighed easily 150 lbs less. At the end of the day Wisconsin’s linebacker TJ Watt best summed up when he said the following:
“It was honestly unbelievable when I turned around and saw that D’Cota had the ball in his hands.” Watts elaborated. “A little scuffle broke out from the LSU team. In the end that’s the way they play football and we have our ways to play football.”
Last Saturday we saw exactly which way was the winning way.