Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Penn St. mauls defenseless UW

[media-credit name=’JEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photo’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]FB_Dominant_JS[/media-credit]STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Following last Saturday's hard-fought loss to Illinois, Wisconsin cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu said the better team had won the game.

This past Saturday, there was no need to ask; anyone in Beaver Stadium could see that Penn State was clearly the better team, trouncing Wisconsin 38-7.

The game started ominously for Wisconsin. On the opening play of the game, UW running back P.J. Hill was stripped of the football and PSU's Sean Lee recovered at the Wisconsin 12-yard line.


"They really were attacking the football, and give credit to them for doing that," Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema said. "But the ball, it's got to be secured and we have to think like that all the time offensively."

Three plays and a little over a minute later, fullback Matt Hahn dove over the top of the pile at the goal line and the Nittany Lions had a quick 7-0 lead.

"That's never a good sign to start out a game," linebacker DeAndre Levy said. "But, you know, we gotta do our job and respond. It's tough … but it goes both ways, offense, defense, it's tough to start out a game that way.

After the next UW possession stalled after six plays, PSU got the ball back. Keeping the momentum from the first drive, the Nittany Lions drove the ball down to the Badgers' 13-yard line before settling for a field goal to push the lead to 10-0.

"They came out hitting, and we were unable to respond," Levy said. "The crowd got behind them, they were up, had their confidence, the defense was playing great, their offense was rolling a little bit. It was hard for us to recover."

Wisconsin scratched back to pull within three points thanks to a 77-yard drive which was capped by a 1-yard Hill touchdown plunge, but the defense couldn't stop Penn State quarterback Anthony Morelli and the Nittany Lion offense, which ran off 28 consecutive points to finish the game.

"Morelli isn't necessarily a running threat, but they used him today effectively in the bootleg game," Bielema said.

With the Badgers still trailing by three, Morelli used a pump fake to draw the UW secondary to the left side of the field and hit wide receiver Deon Butler, who had beaten cornerback Allen Langford badly, for an easy 29-yard touchdown.

"We had a few mental busts early on with our man coverage, where our guys got their eyes off their man and allowed those guys to run free," Bielema said.

"That long pass with the slant-and-go on Allen Langford in the back corner was a big play for them."

Leading 17-7, the Nittany Lions faced a fourth-and-one on the Badgers' 19-yard line. After calling a timeout to decide whether to attempt a field goal or go for it, Penn State came out to run a play.

Morelli gave the ball to running back Evan Royster who sliced virtually untouched through the left side of the Wisconsin line and went the distance for the back-breaking touchdown.

"I was going to kick," Penn State head coach Joe Paterno said. "First I said, ‘Let's go for it,' and then I said, ‘No, we're going to kick.' There was a timeout and I said, ‘Ah, the heck with it, go for it.'

"Very decisive."

For the Badgers, it was just another instance of not getting a big stop when they needed one.

"Every time we get hurt, it's something else," Levy said.

All told, Penn State scored four of the first five times they had the ball — including three touchdowns — and never relinquished control of the game.

"I mean, I don't know what's going on," cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu said. "You just have to wait to watch the film on Sunday, can't really tell you what the problem is now, but there's a problem and it's got to be fixed quickly."

Trailing 24-7 midway through the second quarter, quarterback Tyler Donovan hit Kyle Jefferson for a 33-yard completion into Penn State territory. The Badgers were unable to build any momentum off that play, as the next pass went through wide receiver David Gilreath's hands and was intercepted by Anthony Scirrotto at the Penn State 27.

"Just a lack of concentration, a lack of concentration," Gilreath said of the missed catch. "I've got to catch the ball there.

"I was wide-open over the middle, and I realize I've got to catch those."

By the time the end of the third quarter rolled around, Penn State had the game well in hand, leading to many of the 109,754 in attendance — the sixth largest crowd ever at Beaver Stadium — to start filing toward the gates.

For the Badgers, the owners of the longest winning streak in the nation just two weeks ago, it was the second consecutive loss in a season that is quickly unraveling.

"You go from on your way to a really good season and you got dreams, you got hopes, you got goals, and two weeks go by and they don't seem attainable any more," Ikegwuonu said. "That's the reality of college football: anything can happen and you have to come ready to play every week, and the last two weeks we weren't ready to play."

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