Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


‘Invaluable’ time for T.D.

[media-credit name=’GREGORY DIXON/Herald photo’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]FB_Notebook_GED[/media-credit]BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The last time UW had a Tyler Donovan sighting, the junior quarterback was walking off the field to a sea of grimaces by the Wisconsin faithful at Camp Randall after leading three drives that resulted in negative yardage. Donovan did not complete a pass to anyone but a Western Illinois defender, throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown.

With Wisconsin up 42-0 late in the third quarter it was clear that the starters on both offense and defense had made the intended statement. Head coach Bret Bielema took advantage of a golden opportunity to get his backups some playing time, Donovan included.

"There's a lot of valuable experience to be gained out there," Bielema said. "A lot of guys had never had game experience before. There's a lot of positives to take out of it."


This time around Donovan was much more effective.

"That was a tough situation for those guys and myself," said Donovan. "It was good to get out here and get in a little bit better situation where you actually can do something."

The backup quarterback led UW to 10 points, completing three of his four passes for 26 yards, including a conversion on third down, before making way for third-stringer Dustin Sherer, who took the field for the first time in his career.

"Bottom line, if John were ever to go down, we'd have to be able to step up, and [Donovan's] got to be able to execute," said Bielema, who while not normally superstitious couldn't help but literally knock on the wooden table in front of him while making the statement. "These reps today are priceless."

Mr. Smith goes to Bloomington

One week after barely seeing the field against Michigan, freshman tailback Lance Smith made up for lost time, carrying the ball for a career-high 19 times, for 65 yards and his first career touchdown at Memorial Stadium, almost eclipsing the number of carries starter P.J. Hill received.

Although Hill did gain 129 yards and scored three touchdowns, coaches are still looking for improvement from Hill in other fazes in the game.

"P.J. does a good job running the football, but there are still some things he has to clean up as far as [pass] protection," Bielama said. "The great news about P.J. is that he's only five games into his career."

Hill showed no signs of being miffed at not getting more carries however, instead stating his belief that the combination is a dangerous one.

"He brings a little thunder and lightning into the situation," Hill commented. "I think it's good. He has speed and he has power and that throws a defense off a lot."

"I like the tandem, we didn't get Lance in the ballgame last week, there was a concerted effort to get him early. You can see he's got a little bit different speed than P.J.

While Smith had a career day, fifth-year senior Dywon Rowan had a forgettable one, not in that he made any poor plays, but just that his name was absent on the stat sheet after the game, possibly signaling that Smith has surpassed him as the backup running back.

"In the words of Paul Chryst, P.J. is No. 1, Dywon is the second running back and Lance is the second tailback," Bielema said.

"They are trying to trust me, trying to give me more chances," Smith said. "I don't know what they are going to do with us, but I just know when my time comes I'm going to take advantage of it."

Kickoffs return off

While it was all smiles after the game for the Badgers and their head coach, Saturday's contest wasn't without its blemishes, most notably the continued struggles on kickoff returns. Freshman Josh Nettles who never advanced the ball past the 20-yard line against Michigan only got to the 15-yard line in his only return versus the Hoosiers.

Complicating matters was that he fumbled on the play, allowing Indiana's Troy Grosfield to return the fumble 15 yards for a touchdown.

"Kickoff returns still an Achilles heel for us," said UW head coach Bret Bielema. "We gotta be able to either check our personnel or [our] scheme and make sure that we aren't trying to do something we can't execute."

On the ensuing kickoffs, Jarvis Minton returned to lead return duties, which had been stripped from him following a fumble against Western Illinois in the Badgers' home opener.

"I feel that I can help out the team on kick off returns," Minton said afterward. "I am going to get out there and show everybody that I can make a difference out there."

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *