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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Grades: Wilson shines once again, special teams aces test

Jared Abbrederis had seven catches Saturday for 93 yards. Abbrederis scored UW’s first touchdown of the game on a 21-yard pass from Wilson.[/media-credit]

Every week, Herald Sports will look back at the most recent Wisconsin football game and assign grades to each position group on a scale of zero to five. Here is a look at how the University of Wisconsin thrashed Penn State 45-7 for the Big Ten Leaders Division title.

Quarterbacks – 5 out of 5

Russell Wilson put on a show in his senior day game. He completed 19 of his 29 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns. As always, he displayed his ability to move out of the pocket and pick up yards with his feet, running for 36 yards on seven carries. He averaged 5.1 yards per run, better than sophomore running back James White.


Wilson was able to blow up a Penn State defense ranked No. 8 in scoring defense and frequently touted as one of the best in the Big Ten and help the Badgers score 45 points.

Running Backs – 4.5 out of 5

Junior Montee Ball has seemingly become unstoppable.

Ball rushed for four touchdowns and 156 yards on 25 carries. Ball did not lose a single yard in the game and averaged 6.2 yards per carry.

Sophomore James White also saw a considerable amount of carries with 16 for 73 yards. He averaged 4.6 yards per carry and was responsible for one of the Badgers’ few mistakes in the game. With 1:04 left in the game, White fumbled on Wisconsin’s own 38-yard line, giving Penn State one final chance to cut the lead to something more respectable than a 38-point margin.

Tight Ends – 3 out of 5

Once again, the tight ends had a quite day. Jacob Pedersen had one reception for three yards. They did have some solid blocking, giving Wilson what seemed like days in the pocket. Otherwise, they were not a major factor in the game.

Wide Receivers – 5 out of 5

Nick Toon honored his father, Al Toon, by wearing No. 87 and had a five-reception, 42-yard, one-touchdown game. But it was Jared Abbrederis who led UW’s receiving corps.

Abbrederis had seven catches for 93 yards and, most notably, a touchdown in the first quarter that tied the game at seven. From that point on, the Badgers never looked back, and Penn State never saw the end zone again.

Offensive Line – 4.5 out of 5

The offensive line was essentially a brick wall Saturday. Going against one of the Big Ten’s best defensive lines, the Badgers protected Wilson well, giving him time to throw and space to run. However, Wilson was still sacked twice.

UW’s o-line also gave Ball the space to run, making key blocks to let him run up the middle as he is known to do. While center Peter Konz was still sidelined with an ankle injury, the o-line proved why it is one of the best in the nation, playing at a high level even without its leader.

Defensive Line – 4.5 out of 5

The defensive line gave a strong yet quiet performance. The line allowed Penn State 114 yards rushing and was able to get pressure on PSU quarterbacks Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden, who combined for only 11 completed passes on 25 attempts and 119 passing yards.

Linebackers – 4.5 out of 5

Mike Taylor and Chris Borland led the Badgers defense once again with seven and six tackles, respectively. But it was Conor O’Neill who had a notable night from the linebacking corps with six tackles and a forced fumble and recovery.

Secondary – 4.5 out of 5

The secondary was responsible for the Badgers’ major mistake of the game. Safety Aaron Henry and cornerback Antonio Fenelus had a miscommunication that allowed Penn State’s Curtis Drake to get wide open behind Wisconsin’s defense. It was PSU’s lone touchdown of the game.

Otherwise the secondary was solid, underlined by an early interception by safety Shelton Johnson.

Specialists – 5 out of 5

On UW’s five punts, the Badgers forced fumbles on four of them and recovered each one, which was an essential game changer for UW.

Punter Brad Nortman averaged 40.6 yards on each of his punts while kicker Philip Welch averaged 57.1 yards on eight kickoffs.

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