Skin in the bowl game Print
Feature
Written by MITCH MAERSCH   
Wednesday, 03 January 2018 19:50

Scott and Barcie Benzschawel of Grafton had plenty of reasons to cheer the Badgers to an Orange Bowl win — their sons Beau and Luke helped Wisconsin cap a record season
Beau and Luke Benzschawel are accustomed to excelling in orange, and now they’ve got another reason to love the color.
The Grafton High School football standouts helped the University of Wisconsin to a 34-24 Orange Bowl victory over Miami last Saturday, and their family got to witness it firsthand.
GUY LG“It was awesome,” Beau and Luke’s father Scott Benzschawel said. Scott played for the Badgers from 1983 to 1987.
While the Badgers’ slow start — falling behind 14-3 — may have had some fans chomping their nails, the players and some of their biggest supporters weren’t concerned.
“We just kinda knew we were going to have to put points on the board, one way or the other. We kind of took it personally,” Beau said. “We knew defense was going to figure it out. Can’t say enough about those guys, too.”
The first-team All-Big Ten junior guard said the offense had to understand the Hurricanes’ defensive schemes.
“Once we got that figured out it was smooth sailing,” he said. “It’s tough to win games, especially against good teams like Miami. They were pretty similar as far as how athletic they were. These guys were a little bit more twitchy and quicker off the ball.”
Luke, a sophomore tight end, also remained confident.
“I didn’t really lose any faith,” he said. “I knew our offense would get it going.”
From the corner of the south end zone in Hard Rock Stadium among the other Badger parents, Scott remained confident.
“Oh yeah. We weren’t worried. For some reason, we always start a little slow. With our D coordinator (Jim Leonhard), we knew they’d figure it out, and they did,” Scott said. “It was fun to put the turnover chains to sleep. That was kind of annoying with the Miami people.”
A 31-10 run the rest of the way sent the Badgers to the Orange Bowl stage, when Scott and Barcie and their other children Abbey and J.P. quickly flagged Beau down after moving to the first row.
Their two Badger sons tossed oranges and memorabilia to the crowd.
“Beau gave J.P. and I each a champion T-shirt and a hat. That was kinda cool,” Scott said.
Coming home was even cooler, about 80 degrees worth. Scott and Luke wore shorts when they got off the plane — “not the smartest thing I’ve ever done,” Scott said.
Beau was the wise one of the bunch.
“I came prepared and brought a pair of sweats,” he said. “I was thinking for once.”
Beau said setting the school record for victories was a highlight of the season, but he’ll remember it for something else as well.
“I’m probably going to look back at the whole team aspect. Just everybody on the team — we were so close,” he said.
“I think that’s why we went out on Saturdays and played well. We were playing for each other. It was kind of our mentality that we’re going 100% because the guy next to us is going 100%. You don’t want to let your brother down.”
Beau said he will return for his senior season and enjoy a second season blocking for record-setting Jonathan Taylor.
“I think it gives you a little more confidence blocking, kind of makes you work a little harder. If you do your job right, one of those big plays can happen,” he said. “He’ll be wrapped up by two guys and you think the play is over, but he has the ability to come out of those things and pick up five or six yards.”
Beau and Luke said they enjoy playing with each other, just like in high school.
“It’s really fun. It makes it a lot easier when you go in huddle and see your brother,” Luke said.
In their free time, the Badgers went jet skiing in four-foot swells and fishing for tarpon.
The Benzschawel family stayed in the same hotel as the Badgers and were able to spend time with Beau and Luke. Mom and dad tried to attend every game this year, bouncing between the Badgers and J.P.’s games with Grafton.
Beau and Luke welcomed a new Badger this season with the addition of highly recruited offensive lineman Tyler Beach from Port Washington. While Grafton and Port remain rivals, these three have put that behind them.
“You kind of forget about that past stuff,” Beau said.
“There’s no more issues between us. We’re on the same team,” Beach said.
Beach redshirted his freshman year and had fun developing as a player. He said he looks forward to playing time next season.
“It’s been awesome, it’s been a lot of fun just being able to be part of it,” he said.