Grades: High score leads to high marks for Badgers

first_imgJunior John Clay was one of four Wisconsin backs to reach the endzone against Austin Peay and contributed 118 of UW’s 346 yards rushing. The backfield combined for 8 TDs and 7.9 yards per carry[/media-credit]Every week, Herald Sports will take a look at how the Wisconsin football team did over the weekend and grade them by position group. Here’s how the Badgers scored against Austin Peay.Quarterbacks – 4.5 out of 5Senior Scott Tolzien finished the game 15-of-17 for 217 yards and three touchdowns, a very good performance to finish the non-conference schedule. Tolzien’s only incompletions came on a bad drop by John Clay and a slightly overthrown fade to Jared Abbrederis in the end zone. By the second half, redshirt freshman Jon Budmayr finally got to make his collegiate debut and went 6-for-7 for 55 yards. Budmayr looked much more poised than he had during spring and fall camps, allowing the coaching staff to breathe a sigh of relief.Running backs – 5 out of 5Clay had his usual 100-yard day, finishing with 118 yards on 15 carries. That pushed the junior’s 100-yard game streak to 10 games. Clay added a touchdown run in the second quarter. The real star in the running game was freshman James White, who had 145 yards and four touchdowns on just 11 carries, highlighted by a 66-yard scamper along the left sideline. Even sophomore Montee Ball, now relegated to third on the depth chart, got his touchdown in, to push the score to 70-3. Fullback Bradie Ewing made the most of his two carries, plunging in from seven yards out to open the scoring.Wide Receivers – 3.5 out of 5Abbrederis has stepped up in the absence of the injured Nick Toon, becoming Tolzien’s go-to receiver. The redshirt freshman finished with three catches for 38 yards and finally got his first end zone target. Isaac Anderson and Kyle Jefferson showed they can still be factors in the passing game as well.Tight Ends – 4.5 out of 5Lance Kendricks had a quietly outstanding game, with six catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. Austin Peay seemed to have great trouble tackling the senior tight end, who looks more and more like the Badgers’ most dangerous weapon on offense. Bonus points for Jacob Pedersen, who managed to get open in the end zone and make a nice leaping grab for a touchdown.Offensive line – 4 out of 5Anytime the offensive line paves the way for 378 yards rushing, it means UW’s big guys are probably doing something right. The line did a good job opening up holes, as well as pulling for outside tosses and sweeps. While Tolzien was sacked once, it can be pinned on White more than Carimi and co. The line also avoided penalties, playing the clean kind of game needed during Big Ten play.Defensive line – 3.5 out of 5Wisconsin was able to rotate guys in on its defensive front and helped hold the Governors to 42 yards rushing. David Gilbert and Patrick Butrym had sacks in the game and the line accounted for four tackles for loss. J.J. Watt didn’t have a huge game, but didn’t need to and was able to rest his bruised thigh in preparation for this weekend’s showdown at Michigan State.Linebackers – 4 out of 5With Chris Borland out for the year, it is going to fall on the shoulders of all the linebackers to pick up the slack. Sophomore Mike Taylor led the way, finishing with a team-best seven tackles in just one half of play. Taylor was all over the place, often in the Austin Peay backfield, which bodes well for the Badgers, who lost an impact player in Borland.Secondary – 4 out of 5Despite making the Governors’ passing game look like a Pac-10-caliber attack for much of the beginning of the game, UW’s defensive backs managed to up their game against Austin Peay. Wisconsin only allowed 115 passing yards and most of them came on screens and check-downs. The defensive highlight of the game came courtesy of safety Aaron Henry, who absolutely leveled APU tight end Ashlon Adams for a big incompletion. From then on, UW’s defensive backs started laying some of the biggest hits of any position.Specialists – 3.5 out of 5The Badgers avoided the kickoff coverage problems that almost cost them the game last week. Kicker Phillip Welch’s leg may have gotten tired from the eight kickoffs he took. The junior averaged 59.9 yards on his kickoffs and made all of his extra point attempts. Backup kicker Alec Lerner even got in the game, making an extra point and handling three kickoffs. Punter Brad Nortman didn’t need to punt until the fourth quarter and even then, only did so twice. He ended the game on a booming 76-yard punt to run out the clock. The only blemish was Abbrederis, who fumbled twice on punt returns, leading head coach Bret Bielema to plug Henry in for two punt returns.last_img read more

Senior Knight leads final charge into postseason

first_imgMegan McCormick / The Badger HeraldWinning back-to-back championships is an incredibly tough feat in any sport. It takes players with extraordinary skill and leadership to accomplish such a achievement.The Wisconsin women’s hockey team eagerly awaits that very challenge this postseason. The team will play just two more regular season series before seeking its second straight National Championship, which would mark an unprecedented five championships in seven seasons for the Badgers.If the Badgers hope to have success this postseason the team will look to lean on the leadership and play of senior forward Hilary Knight, who boasts incredible amounts of extremely valuable hockey experience at the collegiate and international level. Knight has been through it all during her career at Wisconsin, especially her freshman year when she was second on the team with 20 goals but endured the devastation of losing the NCAA championship game to Minnesota-Duluth.“I had that [loss] as a motivation coming in my sophomore year, knowing I need to work harder and bring more to the table than my freshman year,” Knight said. “I think looking back on my freshman year, it was a good learning experience, but I kind of feel like I let myself down.”Knight recalled the season as “exciting” but a “heartbreaker” at the same time. Nevertheless, she played a vital role in UW’s championship season the following year, leading the nation with 45 goals.“We were an unstoppable team that year and it was just a lot of fun playing with Angie Keseley (2005-09) and Erika Lawler (2005-09),” Knight said. “Those two really guided me through my collegiate career.”Knight played for the U.S. Senior National Team in high school and the annual Four Nations Cup, but she added to her international experience the following year by representing the U.S. in the Olympics. She took an entire year off from school to train and perform in the Olympics, assuring herself another two years of eligibility at Wisconsin.“It was a huge learning experience; definitely a lot of those girls took me under their wing and the Wisconsin combination [of players] over there definitely helped bring [my play] back to the collegiate level,” Knight said.“The Olympic year where she got to train and practice with the best players certainly elevated her game to a new height,” head coach Mark Johnson said.Johnson has seen vast growth and improvement in Knight’s game through the duration of her career.“She’ll be the first to tell you she’s gotten better,” Johnson said. “You got to give her credit. She’s been very dedicated to conditioning and off-ice training, working hard in practices. The nice thing for her is she’s gotten opportunities to play in the international level whether the Four Nations [Cup], the Olympics, those type of things.”Knight joked that returning to academics at Wisconsin was more difficult than returning to collegiate play from the Olympics. She certainly didn’t show any jetlag from her year away, leading the nation with 47 goals on her way to her second national title just one year ago.“Her preparation has been very, very strong for a long time and when she’s gotten opportunities she’s made the most of them,” Johnson said. “We’ve certainly enjoyed the four years she’s played at Wisconsin.”Knight now closes in on the end of her long career as a Badger, one marked with consistent dominance and development into a team leader. As the team captain, Knight will utilize her experiences to teach her younger teammates how to prepare for the high-pressure situations that come with the playoffs.“When it gets to playoff time, people try doing more than they’ve been doing all year,” Knight said. “That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can definitely take away from the steady play that we’ve been expecting from each player throughout the year. So [we] just make sure each of our players is calm and ready to go.”Even though Knight is the all-time leading goal scorer at Wisconsin and has national championships to call her own, the senior continues to eye the ultimate prize in college hockey with even more desire then her previous two.“I want to win a national championship, and I don’t think anyone in our room will tell you that they don’t,” Knight said. “As a senior, I think it’s even more memorable because it’s my last run at it and we definitely want to go out with a win in our last game because that’s important to us. Whatever we have to do, we’re going to do it in order to win.”last_img read more