Wisconsin defense ignites Badgers’ comeback in Mayo Bowl vs. Wake Forest

Wisconsin Badgers, Wake Forest Demon Deacons. (Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports)
Wisconsin Badgers, Wake Forest Demon Deacons. (Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Wisconsin Badgers defense nearly gave head coach Paul Chryst a delicious mayo bath. 

Defense may not win you championships anymore, but it helped the Wisconsin Badgers defeat the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in the 2020 Duke’s Mayo Bowl.

As much as everybody watching the game wanted Wisconsin football head coach Paul Chryst to be lathered by a vat of mayonnaise, it was not mean to be. What was meant to be was a tremendous defensive showing by his team’s defense vs. Wake Forest. It was the difference, as Wisconsin finished this season one game over .500. They can build on this one towards next year.

Four interceptions by the Wisconsin defense made them Mayo Bowl champions

In Wisconsin’s 42-28 victory over Wake Forest, the Badgers defense came to play in the second half. Tied at 14 all heading into halftime, Jim Leonhard‘s defense had a field day devouring one terrible Sam Hartman pass after another. With the game tied at 21 points apiece, the Badgers defense picked off the Wake Forest quarterback on four straight possessions to change the game.

Wisconsin scored touchdowns on three of the four possessions off Hartman interceptions. While they missed a field goal on the fourth possession, the Badgers took a 21-point lead over the Demon Deacons they never relinquished. This was a game of two halves one where the Wisconsin defense thoroughly dominated in the second. It reminded us of how strong Wisconsin can be.

Though getting to the Big Ten Championship game was not possible for Chryst’s 2020 team, Wisconsin may very well be the favorites to get to Indianapolis out of the Big Ten West next year. They have a strong starting quarterback returning in Graham Mertz and apparently an opportunistic defense that absolutely flourished under Leonhard’s watch on Wednesday.

Despite a lack of a mayonnaise-soaked sweatshirt, Wisconsin checked all the boxes in Charlotte.

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