MADISON, Wis. (AP) -Leave it to Joe Paterno to give a blunt assessment of the Wisconsin Badgers' woes.
``They let Michigan off the hook, and I think they let Ohio State off the hook,'' Penn State's Hall of Fame coach said.
With the sixth-ranked Nittany Lions (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) coming to town Saturday, the only hook left for these Badgers (3-2, 0-2) may be reserved for quarterback Allan Evridge.
But Paterno's players sound downright sorry about Wisconsin's blown BCS chances.
``Those guys played hard, it's just unfortunate they didn't pull out a win,'' Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark said after watching film this week. ``But, life goes on.''
Even if the losses are hard to fathom.
e on every drive but the first and last in a 20-17 loss.
``We had a sandwich game: terrible first drive, terrible last drive, great in-between,'' safety Jay Valai said. ``We can't do that. We're not going to win, especially in the Ten.''
Paterno, who tore ligaments in his left knee in a sideline collision in his last trip to Camp Randall Stadium in 2006, believes Wisconsin will dig in further.
``Certainly as they look at the tapes of the last two games they're saying to themselves, 'Boy, we could have had both of those games. Let's see if we can make up for it,''' he said.
But Wisconsin's home mystique is gone and so is its 16-game winning streak here.
Clark and running back Evan Royster provide a whole new set of challenges for Wisconsin's defense, which has steadily improved this season.
Royster gained at least 139 yards in each of his last two conference games, and his versatility along with a strong receiving corps are major reasons why the Nittany Lions' spread attack is averaging 500 yards per game.
``They're a great team all-around. They're a heck of team, good players, good playmakers all over,'' Wisconsin linebacker DeAndre Levy said.
And the defense might be forced to carry Wisconsin, which has sputtered on offense while Evridge's completion percentage tumbled to 56.6 percent.
lso thrown four interceptions and lost four fumbles while taking six sacks in an offense built on managing the game.
``We've got to expect the ball to be delivered with better accuracy,'' Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said. ``The next guy in would probably be Dustin Sherer. You don't need to read into it, Allan is going to start on Saturday and be our quarterback. But there comes a point in time where you have to make an assessment of where we are as a football team.''
Evridge's wild throws let defenses creep up to the line and shut down bruising back P.J. Hill. Hill has one TD and is averaging 3.5 yards per carry in the first two conference games.
And while Bielema is sticking with Evridge for now, he didn't allow any of his quarterbacks to be available for interviews this week.
Evridge's counterpart, Clark, understands the pressure on the position.
``No one's perfect,'' said Clark, completing 64.5 percent of his passes with nine TDs and one interception. ``There's never really a perfect game.''
But there's got to be an acceptable one.
Paterno likes Evridge's demeanor, calling him ``a cocky kid'' that ``plays like a coach's kind of quarterback.''
Or the kind that makes coaches crazy.
reporters earlier this week. ``Those are the symptoms, and the illness is inaccuracy.''
Maybe the Nittany Lions' no-name defense will force Evridge from the starter's role and finally start garnering more national attention as Clark believes his teammates deserves.
Or Wisconsin could derail Penn State's budding national title dreams.
``Losing loves company,'' Valai said. ``We lost the last two games. We want some company down here with us. It's frustrating losing. Hopefully we give them that same feeling.''
---
AP Sports Writer Genaro C. Armas from State College, Pa. contributed to this report.

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