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September 16, 2013

Hot 11: Arizona State

After a year-long hiatus, the BadgerBlitz.com Hot 11 is back for the 2013 season. This has always been a popular feature, so I'm glad to bring it back for Gary Andersen's first season as Wisconsin's head coach.

Just as a reminder, the rankings are based on individual play and a player's season-long momentum. A bad game won't knock a player all the way off the list, but new players will jump on to the list and rise and fall as the season moves along. These are my personal rankings, so be sure to head over to The Badger's Den if you want to submit a list of your own!

BadgerBlitz.com Hot 11
Rank Player The Word Last Game
1 Melvin Gordon, RB It's hard to argue with Gordon claiming the top spot for another week. Gordon is simply one of, if not the, most talented player on Wisconsin's roster. Gordon rushed for 193 yards on 15 carries for two touchdowns in the game, and the only thing keeping him from getting more is his issues with pass protection. 1
2 James White, RB Gordon out-shined White for the second week in a row, but White still had a solid day for the Badgers. He tallied 69 all-purpose yards on 16 total touches, and it's clear the Badgers trust White more than Gordon when they're in obvious passing downs. White struggled to get going on the ground, but his versatility keeps him near the top of the list. 2
3 Jared Abbrederis, WR Abbrederis moves up one spot because he was Wisconsin's most reliable pass-catcher against Arizona State- not that that's a big shock, though. He also caught a few big passes on Wisconsin's final drive, giving them the ball at Arizona State's 18-yard line, setting up what could have been a game-winning field goal. 4
4 Chris Borland, ILB Borland climbs up the list for a play that most people seem to be forgetting about after the… unpleasantness at the end of the game. Borland pulled off a fake punt-pass that kept Wisconsin's drive alive, and Gary Andersen said on Monday that Borland is one of those players who wants to have the ball in his hands when it matters most. And well, the Badgers found a way to do that. 5
5 Pat Muldoon, DE Muldoon had one major play for the Badgers on Saturday, but man was it a big one. Muldoon sacked ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly on a two-point conversion attempt, which kept the Badgers in a position to kick a game-winning field goal, until the game's final 18 seconds. N/A
6 Jacob Pedersen, TE Pedersen caught his first touchdown of the season on Saturday against Arizona State, as part of a three-catch game where he tallied 32 yards. The Badgers need to get Pedersen going more often as the season moves along- when he's on his game, he's Wisconsin's second-best pass catching option. N/A
7 Beau Allen, NG Allen had a great game at nose tackle for the Badgers- he recovered a fumble for a touchdown after the Sun Devils botched a punt, and he was very effective in Wisconsin's normal defense as well. The Sun Devils gained just 2.8 yards per rush during the game, and Allen played a big role in stopping ASU's running backs. N/A
8 Joel Stave, QB I went back and forth on where to rank Stave, who completed just 15-of-30 passes in the game for 187 yards and threw one touchdown pass. Stave didn't have any interceptions, but he did have a few passes batted down at the line, and I am a little concerned about how long his delivery is. We'll see how Stave can bounce back against Purdue this week. 6
9 Corey Clement, RB Clement had two great weeks as a true freshman, but you had to think this was coming- Clement rushed for just 1 total yard on 2 carries, with most of the reps going to Gordon and White. The Badgers surprised some people (myself included) by giving him a carry early on in the game, but I don't think we're going to see Clement quite as often in the Big Ten season. 3
10 Michael Caputo, FS Caputo had another solid game for the Badgers at free safety- he recorded 10 tackles and broke up a pass against the Sun Devils. Personally I think Caputo's biggest strength comes in run support, but he seemed to acquit himself well against a pass-happy Arizona State offense. 9
11 Dezmen Southward, SS Dez had his good and bad moments against ASU. He pulled down an interception at a critical time after the Badgers botched a punt return and turned the ball over, but he also had one really dumb penalty on 3rd down when he hit a ball carrier out of bounds. Dez has to play smarter than that, but I expect him to climb up this list a bit in the Big Ten season. N/A

For more Wisconsin Badgers news, notes and discussion, follow John on Twitter.

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