Every week, Herald Sports takes a look back at the Wisconsin football game and grades the position groups on a scale of zero to five.
Here is how the Badgers fared in their regular season finale at Hawaii:
Quarterbacks — 4 of 5
Junior starter Scott Tolzien’s numbers weren’t quite spectacular, but the Wisconsin signal caller was very effective in leading his team to a 51-10 victory in Honolulu. Tolzien threw for 253 yards, his second-highest total of the season, on 16-for-20 passing, but did not find the end zone in the game.
The most memorable moment for UW from under center came from fifth-year senior Dustin Sherer, who took his first snaps of the season and likely his last as a Badger. Sherer ran the ball twice on the Badgers’ final drive for three yards, including an incredible diving touchdown to put Wisconsin over 50 points for the first time in 2009.
Running backs — 4.5 of 5
From the outset, Wisconsin showed it was determined to run the ball right at the Hawaii defense until the Warriors proved they could stop it. They never did, and sophomore John Clay led the Badgers with 172 yards on 24 carries (7.2 yards per carry) and three touchdowns. Clay’s touchdowns put the Racine native at 16 for the season, tying him with fellow Park High School alum Brent Moss for fifth in UW history for a single season.
Backup running backs Montee Ball and Zach Brown combined for 110 yards on 20 carries, including a 4th quarter 35-yard touchdown by Ball as the Badgers continued to pile it on.
Wide Receivers — 3 of 5
With only 20 attempts to work with, the UW receiver corps did its best to help the Badgers’ offense Saturday night. But when 10 completions out of 16 go to Ball and the tight ends, it becomes much more difficult for the receivers to put up big numbers.
Nick Toon grabbed three passes for 66 yards and David Gilreath added two catches for 54 yards. Freshman Kraig Appleton also had one catch for 11 yards.
Tight Ends — 4 of 5
They only combined for seven catches and 85 yards, but the Wisconsin tight ends helped Tolzien and the offense move down the field. They also kept the Warriors’ defense honest and prevented them from loading the box every down.
Senior Garrett Graham led the Badgers with four receptions, but tallied just 45 yards on the night. Lance Kendricks had a pair of catches for 34 yards and Mickey Turner added one grab for six yards.
Offensive Line — 5 of 5
Once again the Badgers had to deal with an injury up front and once again it was hardly an issue for the UW offensive line. When center Peter Konz went down, junior John Moffitt was shifted over to center and freshman Travis Frederick returned to play left guard after sitting out since his injury against Fresno State.
The offensive line led the way for the Wisconsin rushing attack, which tallied 301 rushing yards on 52 carries and seven rushing touchdowns.
Defensive Line — 5 of 5
Wisconsin absolutely dominated Hawaii up front on both sides of the ball, which led to the lopsided result. On defense, the UW line allowed just 17 rushing yards, the ninth straight game in which an opponent has been held under 100 yards. Defensive ends O’Brien Schofield and J.J. Watt also led the way with two sacks apiece and a combined five tackles for loss as the Badgers sacked Warrior quarterback Bryant Moniz six times and recorded seven tackles for loss on the night.
Linebackers — 4 of 5
It was a remarkably unimpressive night for the UW linebackers, which is likely due to the performance of the defensive line and secondary. Blake Sorenson led the position with two tackles on the night while Chris Borland, Jaevery McFadden and Culmer St. Jean each had only one tackle in the game.
Borland did, however, have one of the Badgers’ six sacks, and Sorenson added one of two Wisconsin interceptions in the fourth quarter, which led to the Sherer touchdown.
Secondary — 4.5 of 5
After an incredibly shaky performance in Evanston, Ill., against Northwestern, the Wisconsin secondary came back strong in Honolulu as they limited the Warriors to a season-low 197 yards through the air. Entering the game, Hawaii had been averaging nearly 350 passing yards per game. UW cornerback Devin Smith led the defense with nine tackles on the night, and safety Jay Valai recorded his first career interception early in the game.
Special Teams — 2 of 5
Kicker Philip Welch struggled once again, missing a 41-yard field goal and an extra point, which was the only real blemish on an impressive performance by the Badgers. It did, however, allow head coach Bret Bielema to use Borland on extra points for the first time and he delivered on all three attempts.
Brad Nortman punted only twice on the night for an average of 37 yards, including one inside the 20. Gilreath returned three punts for eight yards and two kicks for 94 yards, including a long of 51 yards.