The Badgers blew the doors off of UMass, but that was to be expected right?
What we didn't expect was the interception, two botched snaps and bad reads by the newly tabbed starter Joel Stave.
Don't get me wrong, Stave isn't a bad option. I just don't think he's the best one. Stave throws a nice, pure ball. And his deep ball found the waiting arms of Jared Abbrederis twice in the second half as the No. 23 Badgers poured it on to beat UMass 45-0.
But after nearly a month of fall camp, Stave looked uneasy in his season opener. And it wasn't like the Minutemen defense was making his life miserable. UMass opened up the middle of the field in the second quarter when he was at the 4 yard line. He takes three steps and he's in the end zone. However, thanks to his long hesitation, after the Camp Randall Stadium crowd hollered for him to "Run it" only ended up with him being tackled and the Badgers settling for a field goal after seeing first-and-goal from the 5.
Coach Gary Andersen reiterated after the game numerous times that he is sticking by his sophomore quarterback. He had to be happy that offensive coordinator dialed up a play-action pass that hooked up with Abbrederis for 65 yards on the Badgers' first play from scrimmage in the second half.
Andersen also didn't want to just lay all the blame on Stave. He mentioned that all receivers need to share in some of the blame. And let's not forget about the talented tight end crew that did catch four of the team's 10 passes but only for 32 yards.
Stave was 4-for-11 in the first half and 5-for-6 in the second. Granted, he didn't have to throw it nearly as much when Melvin Gordon, James White and Corey Clement all racked up over 100 yards on the ground.
The good news is that the Badgers won 45-0 with a running game that did whatever it wanted and backed up by a defense that played strong, including the secondary that was supposed to continue its run of mediocrity but actually played well.
The bad news is that we still don't know very much. The Minutemen were vastly overmatched playing in their second FBS season and just didn't have the horses to compete. The same script is playing out once again this Saturday. However, instead of laying 44½, the Badgers are laying 45 points this week vs. Tennessee Tech.
The true test of Stave's leadership is going to come in a tough road test at Arizona State. Earn a convincing win there and that will set up a Big Ten slate that instantly looks winnable.
However, if Stave has another bad start, Curt Phillips will have to come on in relief and try not to let a hiccup in the desert blow up the season.
To contact Cory Jennerjohn e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @CoryJennerjohn