Wisconsin Badgers unhappy with pass interference calls vs. Northwestern

MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin cornerback Caesar Williams questioned pass interference calls made during this past weekend's loss and said the penalties won't cause the Badgers to play any less aggressively the rest of the season.

The Badgers were called for pass interference four times Saturday in Northwestern's 17-7 victory. Two of the penalties came on the game's opening drive, which ended with a Wildcats touchdown.

"At times I felt like the ref maybe had purple underneath their jerseys; I mean, under their white-and-black shirts," Williams said Tuesday.

Northwestern climbed from 19th to 11th in the Associated Press Top 25 after the win, while Wisconsin (2-1) tumbled from 10th to 18th. Northwestern (4-1) also took command of the Big Ten West Division race while dealing a blow to the Badgers' chances of reaching the conference championship game for a second straight season.

Williams had an interception nullified in the second quarter when he was called for pass interference. He said defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard wasn't coaching the secondary any differently because of the penalties and said "he doesn't see them as pass interference calls and neither did the defense."

"Maybe refs aren't used to seeing perfect reps and they throw a flag," Williams said while laughing. "It is a hard job, but I don't think a flag should hinder a defensive back's confidence in what they do."

Wisconsin's home game against Minnesota (2-3), which had been scheduled for Friday, had been called off as the Golden Gophers deal with pandemic-related issues. Minnesota called off practice Tuesday and paused all team activities as a result of positive COVID-19 tests within the program.