Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Grades: Badgers tame Wolverines

Junior tight end Lance Kendricks stretches for a touchdown after tripping over his own feet.[/media-credit]

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 final home game against Michigan:

Quarterbacks — 4 of 5


For 90 percent of the game, Scott Tolzien was on fire. He became the 11th Badger of all time to score five touchdowns in a game, and he was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. UW scored on all six of its trips to the red zone and recorded the most points against Michigan in Badger history. The passing statistics were solid, and Tolzien finished with 240 yards on 16 completions. When the junior signal caller was bad, however, he was really bad. Intercepted in the first quarter by Jordan Kovacs, the miscommunication with wide receiver Nick Toon led to a Wolverine field goal. Even more troubling, Tolzien’s fumble in the second quarter was recovered by UM for a touchdown. Overall, it was a good day for the junior quarterback with a few ugly spots.

Running backs — 4.5 of 5

Wearing down the defense, chewing up clock and generally having their way with the Michigan front seven, the Wisconsin ground game showed the Wolverines — the league leaders in rushing — what running the ball really looks like. Sophomore John Clay finished with 26 carries for 151 yards and a touchdown. He has inserted his name strongly into the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year competition. The only negative for Clay came from lacking the breakaway speed on his 33-yard run. Freshman Montee Ball was often stopped for minimal gains, but finished the game with 62 yards on 16 carries — a 3.9 average. UW went to Lance Kendricks two times on the “tight end-around” and picked up 15 yards.

Wide Receivers — 4 of 5

After dropping what would have been the first touchdown of his career last season in Ann Arbor, wide out Nick Toon responded with a huge game, catching five balls for 98 yards and two touchdowns. The second touchdown grab was a spectacular effort while drawing an interference penalty. Junior Isaac Anderson chipped in with four balls for 65 yards. However, Toon was at least partially responsible for Tolzien’s interception.

Tight ends — 5 of 5

Garrett Graham put up his most productive game of Big Ten play, finishing with five receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown. He continues to be a dominant blocker. Kendricks also chipped in a reception, while senior captain Mickey Turner had what may have been his best game of the season run blocking.

Offensive line — 4.5 of 5

Four hundred and sixty-nine yards of offense, 28 first downs and 45 points are a feather in any offensive line’s cap. Doing it against a decent Michigan front seven makes it even sweeter. The Badgers wore down the Wolverines in the second half, and 229 rushing yards put a “Wisconsin” stamp on the game. However, the line did allow eight tackles for a loss, including two sacks by the talented Brandon Graham.

Defensive line — 5 of 5

Simply put, the seniors stepped up. Fifth-year defensive tackle Jeff Stehle exploded for a sack and two TFLs in his best game of the season. Senior leader O’Brien Schofield wreaked havoc as usual, collecting half a sack, seven total tackles and one tackle behind the line of scrimmage. The youngster of the group, J.J. Watt, nearly had two sacks before Forcier flipped the ball out, but blocked a field goal with tremendous anticipation. Holding the league’s leading rushing team to just 71 yards is an impressive accomplishment.

Linebackers — 4.5 of 5

Freshman Chris Borland once again played way beyond his years, leading the team in tackles with 11 and picking up 1.5 TFLs. However, Borland did blow an assignment leading to a conversion on third-and-24. Fittingly enough on Senior Day, Jaevery McFadden played his best game of the season, romping behind the line for 2.5 tackles for a loss. Coming in on passing plays, junior Blake Sorensen finished second in tackles with seven.

Secondary — 2.5 of 5

Not challenged downfield often, the secondary held its own on UM quarterback Tate Forcier’s few deep attempts. Niles Brinkley made a beautiful adjustment on a deep ball for an interception. It was a play he didn’t make against Indiana. Forcier finished with 20 completions for a weak 188 yards, though he did throw two touchdowns. Facing a unique and challenging offense, the corners tackled well.

Specialists — 1 of 5

Kicker Phillip Welch gave up big field position kicking it out of bounds on the opening drive. He did boot one for a touchback later, though, and connected on his lone field goal attempt. Brad Nortman punted only once, a weak attempt that went 34 yards.

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