Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Individuals couldn’t put together a winning season for the Badgers

Following the Badgers’ final game at Minnesota, head coach Barry Alvarez was asked if his team’s parts were greater than its whole.

While the head coach slightly chuckled at the analysis, he had to agree. The game that had taken place less than an hour before Alvarez stood in a small hallway in the lower recesses of the Metrodome had dropped Wisconsin to 5-7 on the year. Yet while the numbers showed it was a losing season, there were individuals that excelled.

Wide receiver Lee Evans destroyed the previous UW receiving records and earned national recognition. Freshman running back Anthony Davis continued the rushing tradition in a season that many thought the streak of 1,000-yard rushers would end.

Nick Greisen quietly stormed ahead of his Big Ten competitors in total tackles and proved to be UW’s most reliable linebacker game in and game out.

Yet having one of these players, as well as several others, step up and put up huge individual numbers did not equal many wins for UW.

As seen in the seven losses UW accumulated this season, the parts did turn out to be greater than its whole.

Sept. 1: Oregon 31 UW 28:

Jim Sorgi: 16-32 passing, 231 yards, 2 touchdowns

Lee Evans: eight catches for 168 yards

In UW’s first road trip of the season against then-No.7-ranked Oregon, the Badgers battled until the end in hopes of pulling out the upset win.

The game came down to UW’s final possession, when Jim Sorgi, who started in place of the injured Brooks Bollinger, was unable to connect with receiver Nick Davis in order to prolong UW’s much-needed scoring drive.

The drive fell short, and the Badgers suffered their first loss of the season, falling 31-28 to the Ducks.

In the loss, two individuals stepped up and recorded impressive lines for themselves.

Sorgi tallied 231 yards on 16-32 passing, and threw two touchdowns.

Lee Evans made his presence known as well, making eight catches for 168 yards.


Sept. 8: Fresno State 32, UW 20:

Lee Evans: Seven catches for 182 yards

Anthony Davis: 137 yards rushing

After UW came out strong in the first half to go into the locker room with a 20-10 lead, the Bulldogs scored 22 points in the second half to steal away the victory. Fresno State’s Bernard Berrian ran the second half kickoff for 96 yards for a quick score.

Then in UW’s possession, Jim Sorgi, who started in place of the injured Bollinger for the second straight game, threw an interception that set up a 16-yard touchdown pass from quarterback David Carr and receiver Rodney White.

Fresno State connected on a pair of two-point conversions following the quick scores and took a 26-20 lead. The 16 points took 1 minute and 34 seconds to tally. In the remaining minutes of the game, the Bulldogs would add another six points while shutting out Wisconsin.

Following the game tempers flared in the locker room as senior defensive lineman Wendell Bryant labeled the game “unacceptable.” Fellow senior Joey Boese also made his feelings known.

“When it’s your turn to make a play, you’re expected to make the play,” Boese said.

And two players did make plays during the loss.

Evans had seven catches for 182 yards in the game, 77 of which came off of three passes in the first half.

Anthony Davis made his presence felt with 137 rushing yards. His day was highlighted with a 68-yard touchdown run with 7:49 left in the first half.

Oct.8: Indiana 63, Wisconsin 32

Mark Anelli: five catches, one touchdown, 2-point conversion

Lee Evans: nine catches, 148 yards

In the worst loss Wisconsin had suffered since Nov.5, 1890, Alvarez watched as his team gave up the most points any of his squads have ever surrendered.

Indiana dominated the game offensively, and they did it from the very beginning. On the Hoosiers’ opening drive, multi-talented quarterback Antwaan Randle El completed a 47-yard pass that set up a six-yard touchdown run for Levron Williams. That’s where the bleeding began and it didn’t stop until the final whistles blew.

When all was said and done Williams scored six touchdowns and tallied 280 rushing yards. This broke UW’s record for touchdowns allowed by an opponent.

Following the game Alvarez admitted that he’s never seen his team like that before.

“I can’t put my finger on anything, but I saw some things out there today that I haven’t seen since we’ve been here, and it’s annoying,” Alvarez said.

Yet in all of the annoyance, there were a couple of bright spots in Mark Anelli and Evans.

Anelli put together the best game of his career up until that point with five receptions, and he also scored one touchdown and a 2-point conversion.

Evans again tore up the opponents’ secondary, making nine catches for 148 yards.

But the offense produced by those two was not enough to top the 63 points scored by Indiana.

Oct.20: Illinois 42, Wisconsin 35

Jim Sorgi: 10-20 passing for 157 passing yards

Lee Evans: 150 yard performance breaks UW’s single season receiving yardage (960 yards)

After trailing 22-7 at the half, Wisconsin battled back in the second half only to run out of steam in the closing minutes. The Badgers’ four touchdowns in the first seven minutes of the second half propelled them into the lead, but with 12 minutes left to go the Illini battled back and captured the 42-35 victory.

The Illini made their comeback after a long kickoff return by Christian Morton. Illinois started their drive on the 50-yard line. It took only two plays — two passes from quarterback Kurt Kittner — for the Illini to score and regain the lead.

After the comeback UW was once again forced to face the reality of another loss.

“It hurts,” Bryant said. “It hurts. It hurts a lot.”

But through the pain individuals again performed well.

Sorgi, who got the call after Bollinger pulled his groin, led UW to its comeback. After starting out slow, he was 10-20 in passing for 157 yards.

Evans had another stellar performance with 150 receiving yards. His yardage gave him 960 yards on the season, which broke UW’s single season receiving yardage record.

Oct. 27: Michigan State 42, Wisconsin 28

Davis and Evans both surpass 1,000 yard mark

After contending with the Spartans in the first half, the MSU offense proved to be too much for Wisconsin. In the second half MSU receiver Charles Rogers tallied 163 yards, including an 87-yard touchdown reception. Led by his offensive production, MSU increased its lead to as many as 21 points.

“We’re not very good on defense,” Alvarez said. “”We’ve always had a chance to win around here because of our defense. We’ve scored enough points the last two weeks that we should have a heck of a chance to win and haven’t.”

While the defense deterred to the Spartans’ offense, both Davis and Evans captured their 1,000-yard milestones. Davis tallied 101 rushing yards to continue UW’s streak to nine 1,000-yard rushers. Evans became the first receiver in UW history to tally 1,000 yards in a season with his 228 yards against the Spartans.

Nov.17: Michigan 20, Wisconsin 17

Mike Echols holds Marquise Walker to four catches for 14 yards

Nick Greisen makes 16 tackles, forces a fumble and records a sack

The only thorn in the side for UW during the senior class’ tenure, Michigan once again proved to have Wisconsin’s number.

The Badgers put together a second half comeback to rally back and prove that they could stand with the Wolverines. However, it just didn’t seem to be in the senior class’ cards to beat Michigan, and UW lost in the closing seconds of the game.

The Badgers had a chance to take the lead in the game late in the fourth quarter, but Mark Neuser missed the field goal attempt to the right, giving Michigan back the ball with under 1:30 left on the clock. The Badgers’ defense held the Wolverines’ offense, forcing a punt in the closing seconds, preparing for what looked to be an overtime session. However, UW’s special teams unit was confused on the play call for the punt, and as Brett Bell went back to cover the punt return the ball bounced off of him, and it was recovered by Michigan. The Wolverines made the field goal and pulled out the victory.

The senior class left Camp Randall for the final time that night, but a couple of them left the field in style.

Mike Echols drew the assignment of Marquise Walker, and he shut him down in the backfield. Walker made only four catches for 14 yards.

Nick Greisen also played well, recording 16 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble.

“I said to myself, ‘This is your last game at Camp Randall,” Greisen said. “I had to show everybody what my whole career was about here. Hopefully I left a mark.”

Nov.24: Minnesota 42, Wisconsin 31

Evans breaks Big Ten single season receiving yardage record

With Paul Bunyan’s axe on the line, Wisconsin lost the border battle to the Gophers. In a game that teetered back and forth between the two teams, Minnesota took over the lead for good in the second half. Minnesota scored 14 points late in the game to secure the victory, while at the same time keeping Wisconsin scoreless.
When the clock wound down at the end of the fourth quarter, several of the Badgers walked off the field promptly, not wanting to see the Gophers take away the axe that had been in the UW locker room for the previous six years.
“It’s a very frustrating feeling, seeing those guys running across the field like that,” senior Nick Davis said. “That’s when it kind of hits you that that axe is not going to be in that showcase down by the locker room for the next year.”
And Evans’ performance against Minnesota made many wonder if he would also be absent from the UW locker room next season. Evans added to his resume yet another record in the loss to the Gophers, this one coming from the Big Ten. Evans surpassed David Boston to grab the conference record for single season receiving yardage, with 1,545 yards.

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