Every week Herald Sports will analyze the most recent Wisconsin football game and hand out grades for each position group on a scale from zero to five. Let’s examine how the Badgers fared in their record-breaking 83-20 win over Indiana.
Quarterbacks – 5 out of 5
When Nate Tice finds the endzone on a 17-yard naked bootleg you know the quarterbacks have had a pretty perfect day. Tice scored the final touchdown of the day for the Badgers but the guys above him on the depth chart set the tone. Scott Tolzien had just three incompletions on a day where he threw for 181 yards and two touchdowns. Backup Jon Budmayr also got some action and completed a 79-yard bomb to Jared Abbrederis for his first career touchdown pass.
Running backs – 5 out of 5
It was another terrific performance for the UW running backs, even with star John Clay watching from the sidelines. Montee Ball set a new career-high with 167 yards on the ground and the sophomore scored three touchdowns. James White looked fresh after a week off due to injury and the freshman ran for 148 yards and two scores. Both backs ran at an astounding 7.6 yards per carry average.
Tight ends – 5 out of 5
There is a trend developing here. The Badger tight ends continue the streak of perfection thanks to the efforts of Lance Kendricks and Jake Byrne. Kendricks hauled in an 11-yard touchdown pass from Tolzien and piled up 47 yards receiving. Byrne grabbed his first touchdown score with a 2-yard grab and the junior also recorded a nice 16-yard reception.
Wide Receivers – 5 out of 5
It’s hard to find any disappointing performances when an offense puts up 83 points. The wide receivers weren’t a huge part of the offense, especially when the game got out of reach, but they were very effective. Nick Toon finally caught his first touchdown pass and Abbrederis made a great play on the ball for his 79-yarder. David Gilreath was spectacular in the return game once again and the senior caught three balls for 41 yards.
Offensive line – 5 out of 5
Yet another five for the five maulers up front. The Badger running backs racked up the yardage but the UW O-line opened up gargantuan holes. It seemed like Tice could have lined up in the backfield and ran for 100 yards with that kind of blocking. Bill Nagy was particularly impressive starting at center in place of Pete Konz and the second stringers didn’t miss a beat when their names were called. Wisconsin absolutely dominated the line of scrimmage and it showed on the scoreboard.
Defensive line – 4 out of 5
Indiana running back Nick Turner spoiled the day for the UW D-line. Turner ran for 106 yards on just 11 carries including a 67-yard scamper in the first quarter. The defensive line turned it on however, and started forcing turnovers. Louis Nzegwu, who had the only sack for UW, forced a fumble and had two tackles for loss. J.J. Watt recovered two fumbles and also grabbed two more tackles in the backfield.
Linebackers – 4 out of 5
Not much to say about the linebackers Saturday. Starters Blake Sorensen, Culmer St. Jean and Mike Taylor had just six tackles combined and they take some of the blame for the Hoosiers’ early success on the ground. The linebackers just didn’t have very many plays come their way but they were solid when they had to be.
Secondary – 4.5 out of 5
IU starting quarterback Ben Chappell had some success before his injury, tossing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Tandon Doss, but once he left the game the Badger secondary clamped down on the backups. Dusty Kiel was just 1-for-7 and on one of those incompletions fell to Badger safety Aaron Henry who took it in for six. Antonio Fenelus was active once again, recording a team-high five tackles and forcing a fumble.
Specialists – 5 out of 5
Brad Nortman didn’t even need to dress. The UW punter wasn’t needed as the Badgers scored on all 12 possessions. Kicker Phillip Welch got some action kicking all those extra points and the junior connected on both of his field goal attempts.