How cliche and fitting that on the day set aside to honor
the Badgers playing their final game at home, Wisconsin would hold off a late
surge by No. 12 Michigan thanks to timely contributions from its outgoing
That was the case Saturday, as Wisconsin built a big lead
thanks to senior contributions on offense and held onto it thanks to strong
play from defensive seniors.
"The blessings keep coming, and I don’t know when they’re
going to stop, and I hope they don’t," wide receiver Paul Hubbard said.
The outgoing senior class as a whole has been blessed,
especially when you look at the most important stat in any sport: wins.
With the win Saturday, the senior class won its 39th game,
setting a new record for wins as a single class.
"It’s just fortunate for us that we’ve been surrounded by so
many good players," senior defensive back Ben Strickland said. "We’re not the
most talented class, but we understand what it takes to win and to get the work
done and to push other guys."
Walking off the field for the final time gave Hubbard a mix
"There’s too many of them," Hubbard said of his thoughts
after the game. "I can’t just look into my mind right now and pick one because
there are so many of them racing through my mind right now. I still don’t know
how to feel."
Hubbard’s feelings were fairly common among senior
"I didn’t think it would ever get here," punter Ken DeBauche
said of his final home game. "Looking ahead to it, it seemed like it would take
so long, but now looking back, my career here went by so fast."
Hubbard had a huge game in his final time on the field at
Camp Randall, catching seven passes for 134 yards.
"It was great, not only for me, but for Swan, Randle El, all
those guys who didn’t play," Hubbard said.
Making the Senior Day all the more special for Hubbard was
that he had a chance to showcase his talents in front of family.
"My father was in attendance for the first time since I’ve
been in college. He’s always had to work, so that meant a lot to me, and my
mother was there as well," Hubbard said.
Hubbard’s receiving exploits came courtesy of quarterback
Tyler Donovan, who threw for 245 yards and one touchdown before leaving late in
the fourth quarter with a hand injury. The senior also ran eight times for 49
"He did a great job of scrambling, and one thing he did when
scrambling was look downfield," tight end Travis Beckum said. "He hit a lot of
open guys downfield while scrambling, and that’s why he’s here."
Donovan excelled all game eluding pressure. On a second-quarter
play in particular, he spun out of two would-be sacks, raced toward the line of
scrimmage and lofted a nice pass to Beckum for a gain of 24 yards.
"That was kind of the name of the game today: Make some
plays and keep them on their toes," Donovan said. "There were some situations
when they had some things covered up downfield, and we were able to keep the
chains moving with guys making plays."
Defensively, senior defensive tackle Nick Hayden played one
of his best games, recording four tackles and half a sack.
His biggest play may have come when he knocked down a pass
from Michigan quarterback Ryan Mallett on a third down and forced a Michigan
"It’s a big play," Hayden said. "Someone’s gotta make a play,
and it so happened to be me that time. I was just looking to make plays all day,
and that play came to me."
Also fitting was that, as Michigan took its final offensive
snaps, it was senior Ben Strickland — who Bielema jokingly predicted would cry
during his final game — who broke up consecutive passes.
was a special day, a special moment and something I’m going to have the rest of
my life," Strickland said.