Sept. 7, 2013
BY MIKE LUCAS
After turning off the microphone from his work with the Wisconsin Sports Network, UWBadgers.com Insider Mike Lucas offers his take on the Badgers’ 48-0 win over Tennessee Tech.
PLAY OF THE GAME
The play of the game morphed into the drive of the game.
After Kenzel Doe’s long punt return was erased by a penalty, the Badgers were back up on their own 6-yard line with less than two minutes left in the first half.
UW offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig once again took an aggressive approach to his play call on first down, just like he had at the start of the third quarter against UMass.
Quarterback Joel Stave executed the call perfectly finding tight end Jacob Pedersen for a 21-yard completion that set the tone for the 2-minute drill.
On the second play of the series, wide receiver Jordan Fredrick used a nifty spin move to get out of bounds after an 8-yard gain.
The Badgers work on this at the end of every practice, and it was another example of how everyone understood and completed their assignment.
Tailback James White was particularly effective in his role, too.
White’s experience is most telling in situations like this. In addition to picking up edge rushers, he has soft hands and poses a receiving threat coming out of the backfield.
Stave was 10-of-10 on the drive, which was capped by Brian Wozniak’s first career touchdown reception. It’s hard to imagine anybody performing more flawlessly.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Stave is a strong candidate, but it has to be shared by the tailback trio of White, Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement.
Running backs coach Thomas Hammock has done a terrific job in helping shape the personality of this group. There’s a sizeable trust factor involved.
Few teams share the rock like this one.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Creating turnovers has been a point of emphasis since the start of training camp.
To this end, cornerback Darius Hillary put Tennessee Tech into a hole on the first play of the game when he knocked the ball loose.
Southward recovered on the 22 and the Badgers took a 7-0 lead six plays later.
Joining Hillary as a co-Defensive Player of the Game is linebacker Conor O’Neill. In his first career start, he led the defense in tackles with nine and tallied 1.5 tackles for loss. His perseverance is noteworthy.
There’s no better preparation for a heavyweight opponent like Arizona State than success. The Badgers did what they had to do in their first two games and now they will take their first significant step of the young season in Arizona, which should be a measure of how good this team is.