Bret Bielema, the second-youngest Division I head coach in the country, utilized the strange new NCAA rules to his advantage Friday to not only defeat the nation's oldest coach, but to thoroughly frustrate him.
At the end of the first half, Bielema had his kick return team go offsides on two kickoff attempts by Taylor Mehlhaff. Since the new rule stipulates the clock starts running with the kick and not with the opposing team's return, Bielema was able to run all but four seconds off the clock and stop any attempt by the Lions to score points before the half.
Joe Paterno, Penn State's legendary coach, was irate with the officials over the strategy, and was shown leaving the field after the end of the first half in a huff, blowing off a sideline reporter and a cameraman on the way to his locker room.
But PSU defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, who spoke on Paterno's behalf after the game — Paterno injured his left leg in the third quarter and was flown back to University Park early — glumly said there wasn't a whole lot Paterno could have done, just that he was aggravated by the rule.
"It's just a situation that they can do that to you, and that's what they did," Bradley said. "I think he was upset that he knew they were doing it deliberately, it was intentional."
Bradley added that Penn State doesn't have any such strategy, if the Nittany Lions were in the same position Bielema was in.
UW senior safety Joe Stellmacher said he's never seen anything like the scene at the end of the second quarter.
"I didn't know what the heck was going on," Stellmacher said. "[Bielema] wanted to screw with that new rule. That rule is a goofy rule, maybe it's a little flawed. Coach B has always got something up his sleeve."
Hubbard makes his name known
It wouldn't be a stretch to call Paul Hubbard inconsistent. However, when the Badgers wide receiver has been up, he's been sky-high for Wisconsin, such as his six-catch, 122-yard breakout game against Indiana Sept. 30.
Hubbard may have had his second-best game of the year Saturday, and it only took one play to make his presence known. In double coverage with 23 seconds left in the first half, Hubbard broke a 3-3 tie with a catch at the back of the end zone from John Stocco, serving as the game-winning touchdown.
"It felt really good, we were in need of a big play, we needed a score to separate ourselves from them, coming down with it, it made me feel really good."
Hubbard was receptionless against Illinois a week ago, and was happy to reinsert himself into the offense against Penn State.
"It was really nice, [after] not catching any passes last week, I feel like in this week's preparation, I put myself in a position to go out there and make plays," Hubbard said. "We went out there, and [Stocco] came to me and just kept coming, and that boosted my confidence level up some more."
Hubbard said one of his greatest accomplishments in the 2006 season has been his ability to complete the big play when needed, which he felt he wasn't able to do earlier in the year.
"I've had a lot of trials and tribulations," Hubbard said. "That's just something that shows that I've come a long ways and I've overcome some of those [challenges]."
Posluszny breaks record
Penn State inside linebacker Paul Posluszny broke a historic record at the school known as "Linebacker U". When he brought down UW tight end Travis Beckum at the end of the second quarter, for his tenth tackle on the day, Posluszny moved past PSU's Greg Buttle with 344 tackles in his career, the most tackles ever at Penn State.
"It's quite an accomplishment," Bradley said. "Paul is the heart and soul of our defense. It couldn't happen to a more deserving, finer young man than Paul Posluszny, and that's a record that will take a long time to break."
Posluszny ended the game with 14 tackles, placing him at 349 tackles for his career. Bradley added that the record will take a "long, long time to break."
"He's a super person, he's a super football player, and I'm proud to have him on my defense," Bradley said.