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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Senioritis: Badgers win final home game

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Michigan thought it could trample on Wisconsin in
preparation for next weekend's marquee matchup against Ohio State.

Instead, it was the Wisconsin running game and senior
quarterback Tyler Donovan's ability to walk the fine line between organized
chaos and disaster that ran over Michigan 37-21 Saturday on Senior Day.

The win extends the Badgers' home winning steak to 14 games
and ends the Wolverines' eight-game run.

"I think it's a great win for us personally," tight end
Travis Beckum said. "It really means something to us."

Freshman Zach Brown took the bulk of the carries after
backup Lance Smith went down with a shoulder injury at halftime and starter
P.J. Hill was limited to five carries — all in the third quarter — due to a
lingering leg injury. Inspired by the presence of legendary back Ron Dayne,
whose No. 33 was retired at halftime, Brown eclipsed 100 yards rushing for the
first time in his young career and scored two touchdowns late in the fourth
quarter to put the game out of reach.


"Today, winding down to the last minute, you have to step it
up a notch, and I was glad to be able to do that to get a victory," Brown said.

Donovan escaped, eluded and shredded the Michigan (8-3, 6-1
Big Ten) defense all day with a season-high 49 yards on the ground and 245
yards through the air.

"Tyler Donovan, he's phenomenal," said Wisconsin senior
receiver Paul Hubbard, who finished with 134 of those yards on seven catches.
"He got out of the pocket, scrambled, made guys miss, took the hits and got
back up and did it again.

"I don't know how many times we got big plays down the field
because he was scrambling. … Just for him to have the eye to find the open
receivers while he was on the run from big linemen who are about to clobber him
as they'd done all day just shows a lot."

Wisconsin (8-3, 4-3) wanted to start strong to take away
some of Michigan's options with the football in hand. The game couldn't have
been better scripted, as the Badgers built a 17-0 lead before Michigan could
muster anything offensively.

"I think we came out from the get-go and definitely ended
with a bang," Beckum said.

Following the first of two interceptions by safety Shane
Carter on a poorly thrown ball from the arm of Michigan quarterback Chad Henne,
Wisconsin marched down the field thanks to a pair of personal foul penalties by
All-Big Ten nominee Shawn Crable and scored on a 10-yard touchdown pass from
Donovan to Beckum.

Beckum was the receiver of choice again on UW's next possession,
hauling in a 34-yard pass to set up a Taylor Mehlhaff field goal that made it
10-0 Wisconsin.

The Badgers extended the lead to 17 when Donovan dove inside
the right pylon for a two-yard touchdown.

Already without injured running back Mike Hart — he was able
to go, but Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr opted to lean on the side of cautious
— Henne left the game for good after his pick. Freshman Ryan Mallett took his

A combination of an ineffective running game, which finished
with a season-low 47 yards, and the fact Michigan was playing from behind, put
more pressure on a highly erratic Mallett.

"I really thought our defensive line and linebackers really
took the running game away in certain points, and it had a huge effect on the
game," UW head coach Bret Bielema said.

The freshman finished 11-of-36 for 245 yards, with three
touchdowns and two costly interceptions.

"It was really a gift," cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu said of
his first interception of the season that set up Brown's six-yard touchdown run
to make it 30-21 late.

Not until midway through the second quarter did Michigan
even put together a string of first downs. Mallett connected with Mario
Manningham for a 12-yard touchdown to cap the 80-yard drive.

Michigan wasn't done. A 97-yard touchdown pass to Manningham
to start the fourth made it 23-14. Two series later, the Wolverines cut the
lead to 23-21 when Mallett found a streaking Adrian Arrington, who had beaten
cornerback Aaron Henry, for a 26-yard touchdown.

Despite the big game — two touchdowns and 113 receiving
yards — for Manningham, UW cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu held him in check.

Of 14 passes intended for the star wideout, only three
resulted in completions.

"Jack went out there and competed, and really the last three
or four weeks has shown the Jack of late that can go out there and [produce],"
Bielema said.

From there, the Badgers' defense tightened up and wrapped up
Mallett, sacking him and forcing him into poor decisions. Its play ultimately
saved Wisconsin from disaster after Donovan was forced to leave the game with
an apparent wrist injury after his hand collided with Obi Ezeh's helmet on a
pass attempt.

knew it was going to be a four-quarter game, we knew it wasn't going to be
easy, tried to keep a good head about ourselves even though we had a bit of a
lead there in the beginning," defensive tackle Mike Newkirk said. "It did get
closer there at the end, but we were able to put the nose back to the
grindstone and get it back."

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