BadgerBlitz - Notes: Badgers get signature win
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Notes: Badgers get signature win

The Badgers finished their 2015 season with a win over USC.
The Badgers finished their 2015 season with a win over USC.

SAN DIEGO - The Wisconsin Badgers finished their 2015 season on a high note, beating USC 23-21 in the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Qualcomm Stadium. There was a lot to unpack from the win, so I've included some news and notes from the game below.

Cichy fired up to help the team

Jack Cichy certainly made the most of one half's worth of football, racking up nine tackles (including three sacks) in the second half after he was forced to watch the first half from the team's locker room while serving a one-half suspension for a targeting penalty he received in the second half of Wisconsin's win over Minnesota.

Cichy was certainly fired up for his sacks, which came back-to-back-to-back after USC started their possession at the 50, and senior linebacker Joe Schobert said he wasn't surprised to see Cichy amped up, or to hear that the sophomore was yelling at the TV in the first half while he waited to re-join the team.

"I think Vince Biegel has gotten to him a little bit since he’s gotten here, a little more than me," Schobert said after the game. "That’s Jack. He gets amped up, he gets pumped. He plays great that way, and that’s what you expect from him. I’m just glad he came in and contributed how he did in the second half."

Badgers got back to basics

The Badgers had their share of ups and downs during the year, and at times didn't look much like the ground-and-pound team others expected them to be at the start of the season. But the Badgers looked much more like their old selves in the Holiday Bowl, where they relied on the running game to open up the play-action passing game and relied on a strong defensive effort to keep the Trojans in check.

"The run game got going a little bit, we were able to establish some stuff and do enough in the pass game to keep us moving and (we) just found a way to win," wide receiver Alex Erickson said. "It’s not always pretty, but we’ll find a way."

And with Paul Chryst and most of his coaching staff expected to return for the 2016 season, the Badgers now have a chance to turn their bowl win in to some positive momentum for their program.

"Coach Chryst and most of the staff will be back I’m sure, (so) you won’t be worried about that transition period," Erickson said. "We’re going to have the same system next year, guys can take that next step. It’s hard for the young guys when you’re learning a new system, changing coaches and all that stuff. It’s hard to find a groove."

"Coach Chryst has a great plan. He’s a great coach, a great guy. Everybody is coming around him, and I’m really excited to see what he does with this program. Guys like that, they’re special, and Wisconsin is in great hands."

Clement re-injures ankle, but avoids more serious injury

Junior running back Corey Clement closed out his snake-bitten 2015 season with a career-high 19 carries, but his last one in the third quarter could have proven much more costly. The Badgers were threatening to score and had the ball at USC's 3-yard line, but Clement's ankle was rolled up after he hit the pile and fell backward at an awkward angle.

From afar it looked like Clement might have suffered a much more serious leg or knee injury, but he was able to get up and walk off the field with just a limp. Clement said after the game that he's fine, and just re-aggravated an existing ankle injury that dates back to Wisconsin's 13-7 loss to Northwestern.

"It just got rolled up on," Clement said after the game. "We took X-rays, there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just a lingering ankle issue I had after the Northwestern game. Just after that play it kind of felt funny. Luckily everybody was able to step back up."

And with Wisconsin's win over USC in the books Clement can finally turn the page on a season that didn't go at all how he expected it to in the pre-season.

"I’m feeling pretty confident about next year," Clement said.


John Veldhuis covers Wisconsin football, basketball and recruiting for on the network. Follow him on Twitter at @JohnVeldhuis.