The search for answers as to what went wrong against Penn State have led some to point to the missing presence of safety Michael Caputo. According to a report by Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Caputo will be back in the lineup for the Capital One Bowl.
Raise your hands if you expected or knew that it was Caputo who was second on the Badgers in tackles this season, because that's exactly what happened. Caputo finished the regular season with 34 solo tackles and 62 total tackles.
The numbers don't tell the whole story though, just listen to what is being said about Caputo from Potrykus's article:
"Caputo has worked himself into a fixture on our team," defensive coordinator Dave Aranda said. "People look to him to make plays."
That's high praise for a player no one was even thinking about as an option at safety to start the season. Yet, the combination of Caputo, Tanner McEvoy and Dezmen Southward have proven to be the lifeblood of what the Badgers like to do defensively.
Considering South Carolina's Connor Shaw has an impressive 21 to 1 touchdown to interception ratio, getting that trio back and the defense as multiple as possible will be key.
According to the report, Caputo has been in a green "no-contact" jersey in practice, as he comes back from a concussion he suffered the week before the Penn State game.
So, it remains to be seen just how big his roll will be in the Capital One Bowl, but there's no doubt as to just how important Caputo is to the lineup.
Don't believe me? Pull up the Penn State game and see what happened to that defense minus Caputo.