October 4, 2009

Series by series: UW's offense against Minnesota

During the second half of Wisconsin's win over Minnesota, it was all about the Badger running game. The offensive line dug deep, even while the Gophers stacked the box, and still helped John Clay accumulate his career best 184 rushing yards.

Now, the day after UW retained the axe, BadgerBlitz.com takes a look back at every UW offensive series from Saturday's game. The following is a series-by-series recap:

First Quarter:

Drive No. 1: Started on own 41 yard line following Duane Bennett fumble.
Plays: 9
Yards: 59
Result: John Clay touchdown run. (7-0 Wisconsin)

Key play: On third and five, and facing a quick three and out following the Minnesota turnover, Scott Tolzien found Garrett Graham for six yards. The Gophers brought a blitz, so Tolzien rushed the throw, but Graham made up for it with his nifty one-handed catch.

Drive No. 2: Started on own 20 yard line following kickoff. (7-3 Wisconsin)
Plays: 2
Yards: 9
Result: Tolzien interception.

Key play: Tolzien was trying to get the ball to Nick Toon, but while he was looking right, Nate Triplett was sliding left and jumped the route for the easy interception.

Drive No. 3: Started on own 22 yard line following kickoff. (10-7 Minnesota)
Plays: 13
Yards: 56
Result: 39-yard Philip Welch field goal. (10-10)

Key play: For the first time, freshman Montee Ball got a carry. On first and 10 from the Minnesota 27, Ball rushed for a three-yard gain.

Second Quarter:

Drive No. 4: Started on own 42 yard line following Blake Haudan punt.
Plays: 3
Yards: 9
Result: 49-yard Brad Nortman punt

Key play: Tolzien lowered his shoulder and tried to bull his way to the first down, but he fell one yard short on third and two

Drive No. 5: Started on own 26 yard line following 20-yard Eric Ellestad field goal. (13-10 Minnesota)
Plays: 3
Yards: 9
Result: 52-yard Nortman punt.

Key play: With all three timeouts left, UW suddenly rushed into hurry-up mode on third and one. One would have thought that they had plenty of time, but Tolzien's pass was tipped at the line and nearly intercepted, ending the drive.

Third Quarter

Drive No. 6: Started on own 12 yard line following second half kickoff.
Plays: 6
Yards: 32
Result: Tolzien lost fumble

Key play: Tolzien was trying to create something in the pocket, but when he finally left it, the ball was poked out from behind and Minnesota recovered.

Drive No. 7: Started on own 30 yard line following Patrick Butrym interception.
Plays: 9
Yards: 70
Result: One-yard Clay touchdown run. (17-13 Wisconsin)

Key play: Of the nine plays in this drive, Clay touched the ball six times. He accounted for 53 of the Badgers 70 yards on the drive.

Drive No. 8: Started on own 15 yard line following Haudan punt.
Plays: 13
Yards: 85
Result: Five-yard Lance Kendricks touchdown reception. (24-13 Wisconsin)

Key play: After Clay punished the Gopher defense the entire drive, Tolzien completed it by finding Kendricks open in the back of the end zone. Kendricks displayed a remarkable presence by somehow getting a foot in bounds before stepping out.

Fourth Quarter:

Drive No. 9: Started on own 47 yard line following Haudan punt.
Plays: 6
Yards: 41
Result: Zach Brown lost fumble.

Key play: Already up two scores and in field goal position, the Badgers looked as though they were going to deliver the dagger. However, on third and 10, Brown was unable to secure the ball and fumbled. Minnesota's Marcus Sherels picked up the loose ball and sprinted 88 yards for a momentum-changing touchdown.

Drive No. 10: Started on own 26 yard line following kickoff. (24-21 Wisconsin)
Plays: 8
Yards: 74
Result: One-yard Clay touchdown run. (31-21 Wisconsin)

Key play: Having run the ball between the tackles the entire game, UW offensive coordinator Paul Chryst knew the naked bootleg would be wide-open. So, he called it and Tolzien turned it into a 47-yard scamper that set up Clay's pivotal touchdown run.

Drive No. 11: Started on Minnesota 41 yard line following onside kick recovery. (31-28 Wisconsin)
Plays: 3
Yards: 2
Result: 34-yard Nortman punt.

Key play: Wisconsin could have elected to run the ball on third down and shrink the clock, instead, Tolzien tried to connect with Kendricks for what would have been the game clinching first down. However, the pass sailed and UW was forced to punt.

Drive No. 12: Started on Minnesota 24 yard line following Chris Borland's fumble recovery.
Plays: 1
Yards: -2
Result: End of game

Key play: Tolzien took a knee and Wisconsin kept its record unblemished.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!