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Lucas' Last Word: Receiving options emerge for Wilson

<b>LBs Chris Borland and Mike Taylor played a big role in the Badgers' ability to stuff the run Saturday.</b>

LBs Chris Borland and Mike Taylor played a big role in the Badgers' ability to stuff the run Saturday.

Sept. 10, 2011

MADISON, Wis. -- After turning off the microphone as the analyst for the Badger Radio Network, UWBadgers.com Insider Mike Lucas offers some final thoughts on No. 8 Wisconsin's 35-0 win over Oregon State on Saturday.

Badgers adjust to Beavers’ defensive looks
We could see what they wanted to do with the way they played their linebackers early in the football game. They were coming downhill hard, and they were going to make Wisconsin earn everything it could on the ground. What happens, though, when you sell out to the run is that you leave yourself a little bit vulnerable to pass coverage.

The Badgers this year had the luxury of a quarterback who is so very efficient, and that’s what pretty much played out in the first half.

Up until that final series of the second quarter, the Badgers really hadn’t done anything with any consistency running the ball, but things started to open up. The balance of any offense, allows you to do things.

Mike Lucas
UWBadgers.com Insider

Wilson has options when it comes to throwing down field
It’s probably a mistake now to suggest that Russell Wilson has a go-to receiver, even though Nick Toon had seven catches today. What he’s been able to do is just find the open man depending on what the defense gives him.

And he talked about that in the preseason camp that he didn’t have a go-to receiver at North Carolina State either last year. So what the Badgers have now is multiple options -- whenever Wilson drops back to pass, whether it’s Nick Toon or Jared Abbrederis or Jacob Pedersen in the red zone, in particular, they have found ways to get open.

Defense steps up to stop the run
The Badgers took away the run. They did not give Oregon State any confidence in its ability to move the chains by running the football. When you make any team one-dimensional, it puts a lot of pressure on that quarterback to make plays through the air.

I thought the tackling was much crisper than last week. And as a whole, the defense played with more aggressiveness.

Cromartie, Borland come up big
I can’t say enough about Marcus Cromartie in light of Devin Smith going out with an injury. People have been kind of waiting for Cromartie to make an impact on the defense, and today he did at a very valuable time, too.

The Badgers aren’t blessed with a lot of experience at the corner, so Cromartie filled the void with Smith out.  He had some big hits in the second half.

Borland looked more aggressive. He played much faster than he did in the opener, and I guess that’s expected with just one more game of experience and, maybe, seeing things differently today than he did in the opener.

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