Friday, November 26, 2010

Badgers are looking for the Rose Bowl

If there was ever a week to go 1-0, this is it.
Wisconsin is 10-1 and just needs a win this Saturday against 7-4 Northwestern to assure itself a share of its first Big Ten title since 1999. And depending on how two other conference games shake out, the Badgers could feel quite flowery by game’s end.
UW’s game starts at 2:30 CT, with co-Big Ten leaders Ohio State and Michigan State playing at 11. If the Badgers win, a Spartans loss gives the Badgers the conference’s automatic BCS berth to the Rose Bowl, while a Buckeye upset at the hands of Michigan sends MSU to Pasadena. If all three teams win out and finish 11-1, 6-1 in conference play, the highest-ranked squad in the BCS — almost certainly Wisconsin — gets the bid.
The results of the other two games will be featured on the Camp Randall scoreboard, so there’s no keeping the Badgers from knowing exactly what could be on the line during their game.
“We’re not going to ask the scoreboard people to keep it off the board, so it just kind of comes as it is,” UW head coach Bret Bielema said. “I think the part that’s nice for us all going into this week is we’re already in a situation where if we just handle our business, take care of what we’re supposed to, whatever happens on Saturday outside of Camp Randall is in other people’s hands. We’ll just handle our own.”
A Rose Bowl bid for the Badgers would be awesome.  GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wisconsin Travels to Michigan

Before a single snap, it seems everyone expects Saturday’s game between Wisconsin and Michigan to be a shootout.
With the Badgers unloading 83 points on Indiana just days ago and quarterback Denard Robinson leading a quick-strike Wolverine offense, it’s easy to see why.
Just don’t tell the Wisconsin defense that they’re about to take part in a high-scoring affair.
“I’m a defensive guy so I hope it doesn’t that work out that way,” senior linebacker Culmer St. Jean said of a potential shootout. “That would be a tough Sunday coming back watching film.”
Still, the Badger defense knows they have an extremely tough challenge ahead of them this weekend in Ann Arbor.
Robinson took the college football world by storm early this season, rushing for a 181 yards per game through the first five weeks. After a 5-0 start Michigan went on to lose their next three, with Robinson struggling to make an impact in the passing game, but the production continued on the ground, highlighted by a 191 yard outing against Penn State.
At times, he’s single-handedly carried Michigan, whose defense ranks last in the Big Ten in yardage allowed per game.
Lets hope that Bucky can win again.  GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wisconsin to host Indiana

With just three games left in Wisconsin's regular season, there is plenty of speculation swirling about where the No. 6 Badgers will wind up playing their bowl game.
Bowl games and warm weather aside, the Badgers are just happy to be home for a week. UW (4-1 Big Ten, 8-1 overall) welcomes Indiana (0-5, 4-5) to Camp Randall Stadium for the first football in Madison since Wisconsin knocked off Ohio State on Oct. 16.
The Hoosiers Big Ten mark is certainly not pretty, but they played a seven-point game against Michigan, suffered a three-point loss to Northwestern and would almost certainly have beat Iowa last weekend if wide receiver Damarlo Belcher (65 receptions, 704 yards, four touchdowns) could have held on to a touchdown with under a minute left.
"We don't really see them as a 4-5 team," UW senior linebacker Culmer St. Jean said. "We see them as a 7-2 team that just hasn't had the luck. They're one play away every week."
The Hoosiers have stayed competitive by unleashing a dangerous passing attack, led by senior quarterback Ben Chappell. Chappell is averaging a Big Ten-best 296.3 passing yards per game and has 18 passing touchdowns against nine interceptions so far this season.
The Badger defense saw the capabilities of Chappell last season, as the Bloomington, Ind. native threw for 323 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-28 Wisconsin victory. Unlike recent quarterbacks UW has seen against Purdue and Ohio State, Chappell is a pocket passer. However, according to junior free safety Aaron Henry, that does not make Chappell any easier to play against.
"A lot of guys, once they start to scramble and feel pressure, they have a tendency to not keep their eyes down field," Henry said. "This guy, he'll stand in the pocket and throw a laser."
With any pass-heavy offense comes the opportunity to make plays in the secondary. Entering last weekend's contest against Purdue, the Wisconsin defense had forced just seven total turnovers. Against the Boilermakers, though, UW forced four-all on passing plays. St. Jean said the defense did not change its approach, and that he expects the trend to continue.
"[The four turnovers] really reassure us that if everybody does their jobs, there are going to be opportunities and we just have to capitalize them," he said. "The turnovers are going to come."
Opponents of the Badgers have struggled all season to force mistakes out of UW's veteran offense, but have found little success. Through nine games, Wisconsin has turned the ball over seven times-including just two fumbles lost.
That may come as little surprise, considering the strength of Wisconsin's ground game. That attack will be without junior running back John Clay this weekend though, who is recovering from a sprained MCL suffered against Purdue. Freshman James White appears to be healthy and ready to split carries with sophomore Montee Ball.
The Hoosiers defense ranks near the bottom of the Big Ten in rushing defense (ninth at 166.1 yards allowed per game). Without an elite defensive front, Indiana may have to sell out to stop the run.
"Seeing zone blitzes and things like that is nothing new for us," offensive line coach Bob Bostad said. "We've just got to be ready to handle whatever they throw at us."
Let's hope the Badgers can keep it rolling.  GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wisconsin Has 3 regular season games left

Wisconsin football head coach Bret Bielema discussed both his team's 34-13 victory over Purdue this past weekend, as well as the Badgers' (4-1 Big Ten, 8-1 overall) upcoming contest against Indiana during his weekly press conference Monday.
Bielema awarded this week's offensive MVP to sophomore running back Montee Ball, who saw increased action after junior John Clay and sophomore James White suffered injuries.
 Ball was instrumental in the Badgers' victory, racking up a career high 127 rushing yards while scoring two touchdowns.  
"Can't say enough about Montee and what he did … getting himself prepared and stepping in when John [Clay] went down in the second half," Bielema said. "Montee was really special."
The defensive MVP was awarded to a pair of juniors: cornerback Antonio Fenelus and defensive tackle Patrick Butrym.
 Fenelus was the Big Ten co-defensive MVP of the week, racking up nine tackles and icing the game with an interception return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Butrym, meanwhile, dominated the trenches all game long, recording five tackles.
"[Butrym] probably had the best game in his career to this point," Bielema said. "He just really did a nice job getting off blocks and making plays."
Bielema indicated he was excited to return home this week, realizing how long it had been since the Badgers' last home game-a victory over then-No. 1 Ohio State.
As Bielema reflected back on that game against the Buckeyes, he realized how big of a factor the crowd was in the team's victory, especially the student section. On their last road trip, Bielema stated that it was always a little disheartening to go to different venues and see other student sections filled an hour before the game even started. Bielema then issued a challenge to all UW students.  
"Anything we can do to encourage students … If we can get the student section going, I think it would be a very special thing to close out the rest of the year," Bielema said.
Bielema realizes that every game from here on out is critical in the Badgers' run to a possible BCS bowl game, and that run will start this weekend against Indiana.
Indiana (0-5 Big Ten, 4-5 overall) comes into this week's game having just lost an 18-13 nail-biter over No. 16 Iowa. Indiana is an explosive offensive team, ranking 11th in the nation in passing yards per game. That offense is led by senior quarterback Ben Chappell, who ranks first in the Big Ten in both passing yards and completions.
"Chappell has a great ability to throw all kinds of passes," Bielema said. "It's a very difficult preparation. He doesn't get sacked very often because if he does get pressured he's not gonna take that sack, he's gonna get rid of the football. It's a difficult preparation for us."
This will be the 57th meeting between Wisconsin and Indiana, with the Badgers leading the series 36-18-1 overall and 20-8-1 in Madison. Wisconsin has won five of the last six at Camp Randall Stadium.
Lets hope Bucky can keep on rolling.  GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Scott Tolzien is the Man

The two biggest roadblocks on the Wisconsin Badgers’ schedule heading into this season were going to be, without question, the Ohio State and Iowa games. The consecutive tests loomed large after the results of that two-game stretch in 2009.
Now, after the dust has settled, the Badgers can reflect on two monumental victories with pride and satisfaction. A definite reason for their success in the two contests was the play of senior quarterback Scott Tolzien.
Just one season ago, the story was completely different when the Badgers suffered two crippling defeats in consecutive weeks at the hands of the Buckeyes and Hawkeyes.
In the two losses — the first a 31-13 defeat in Columbus and the second a 20-10 disappointment against the Hawkeyes at Camp Randall — Tolzien went a combined 42-70 for 393 yards with no touchdowns and five interceptions.
“As a competitor, you’re frustrated by having performances like that, but it’s just motivation to get better in the offseason and throughout camp, and in the season, you want to maximize each opportunity you get,” Tolzien said.
But in 2010 against those teams, he completed 33 of 42 attempts for 357 yards with one touchdown and only two interceptions.
“It’s important that you have a short memory as a quarterback,” Tolzien said. “It’s really how you respond that makes a difference.”
Despite the stark contrast in statistics against the two opponents over the past two seasons, there is no magic formula for success that Tolzien followed — the Badgers have just produced higher-quality games.
In the Ohio State game last season, Tolzien threw two passes that were intercepted and returned for touchdowns. In the 2009 Iowa game, one of his three interceptions led directly to a touchdown for the Hawkeyes in a game Iowa won by merely 10 points.
“The big thing for me, individually, is you see what a big difference turning the ball over makes,” Tolzien said. “You see how that kills the momentum and really puts you in a hole.”
Beyond that, Tolzien simply attributed this season’s success against the Buckeyes and Hawkeyes to better team performance.
Another key factor is the difference in quality of protection Tolzien received over the two seasons. Against Ohio State and Iowa last season, he was sacked a combined 10 times. This year, he was sacked just once total in the two games.
“I would have to say protection,” senior left guard John Moffitt offered in explanation for Tolzien’s improved play. “On top of that, Scott’s a good quarterback. He knows what he’s doing out there and makes the right decisions and executes the right way.”
All other considerations aside, the value of experience and maturation can’t be understated.
“He’s a year older,” offensive coordinator Paul Chryst said. “He’s just a different quarterback. He continues to improve and when he has opportunities he makes the most of them. Scott’s tremendous at continuing to learn the game. It’s not just those losses that help him; it’s everything that he experiences, from practice to games.”
A final factor that impacted Tolzien’s performance was the play of the Badgers’ receivers. Senior receiver Isaac Anderson noted that the receivers exhibited less chemistry last season in the two games compared to this season.
“Last year in the Ohio State game, we weren’t on the same page as far as running our routes,” Anderson said. “That wasn’t Scott’s fault…as receivers, we have to be there for him; when he’s putting trust in us and throwing the ball out there, we’ve got to make plays.”
According to Tolzien, it wasn’t just his performance that helped to make this year’s games against the Big Ten’s top teams Badger wins.
“I think we flat-out executed better,” Tolzien said. “I think a little bit of that is experience. But I think it’s just playing better on Saturday.”
Lets hope that the Badgers can continue recruiting QBs that will make a difference.  GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!