September 29, 2008

Series of three and outs haunt Badgers

MADISON, Wis. - What makes UW's loss to Michigan so deflating is the fact that the same Wolverine team celebrating on the field at the end of the game only mustered 21 yards of total offense in the first half. Meanwhile, the Badgers were moving the ball to the tune of 202 yards in the opening frame while jumping out to a 19-0 lead. By the end of the contest though, the Badgers had 384 total yards and fell two points shy of their first victory at Michigan Stadium since 1994.

The following is a look back at every Badger offensive drive throughout Saturday's game:

1st quarter:

Drive No. 1: Started on Michigan 38 yard line.
Plays: 6
Yards: 21
Result: Philip Welch misses 34-yard field goal wide left.

Best play: On second and seven from the Michigan 35, P.J. Hill hit the hole hard, lowered his shoulder, and rumbled 10 yards for the Badger first down, his long rush of the game.

Worst play: What may have been a sign of things to come, and another instance of leaving points on the field, freshman wide receiver Nick Toon dropped what would have been a touchdown pass from Allan Evridge. Toon, running a route down the sideline, had beaten his defender and dove for Evridge's tight spiral, only to see the ball go right through his hands. The Badgers would have to settle for a field goal, which, in turn, was missed.

Notes: On third and eight from Michigan's 23 yard line, David Gilreath caught a pass in the flat and looked to pick up the first down. He was tackled two yards shy of the marker and the ball came loose. Originally, the ruling on the field claimed Michigan had recovered the fumble. However, UW successfully challenged the play and Gilreath's knee had hit the ground before the ball came out.

Drive No. 2: Started on Michigan 27 yard line following Steven Threet fumble
Plays: 5
Yards: 23
Result: 21-yard field goal by Welch (3-0 Wisconsin)

Best play: Evridge found Hill for a 15-yard reception to get the Badgers inside the red zone for the first time in the game. What was one of Evridge's best throws of the game, he stepped up in the pocket and zipped a pass into tightly covered Hill's hands.

Worst play: On the ensuing play, first and 10 from the Wolverine 12, Evridge lost three yards on a rush to set up a long second and 13 which inevitably hurt UW's chances to score a touchdown.

Drive No. 3: Started on own 32 yard line following Zoltan Mesko punt.
Yards: 43
Result: 42-yard field goal by Welch (6-0 Wisconsin)

Best play: With the Badgers facing a fourth and one, punter Brad Nortman ran under center after lining up normally as punter. While under center, he utilized a head nod that drew the Michigan defender offsides and gave the Badger offense a first down.

Worst play: Following the penalty on fourth and one, Evridge threw consecutive incomplete passes to Gilreath and Hill to force a long third and 10 that they were unable to convert.

2nd quarter

Drive No. 4: Started on own 33 yard line following Mesko punt.
Plays: 1
Yards: 0
Result: Interception

Only play: Evridge had a wide-open David Gilreath and threw a ball that should have been caught. Instead, Gilreath tipped the ball into the air where the Michigan defender easily caught it for the interception.

Drive No. 5: Started on own 21 yard line following Mesko punt.
Plays: 5
Yards: 27
Result: Fumble

Best play: On second and eight from their own 23 yard line, Evridge found tight end Mickey Turner out in the flat. Turner then turned up field and rumbled for 22 yards before being brought down.

Worst play: Evridge, while looking for someone to throw to, was hit from behind and fumbled the ball. Evridge consistently held onto the ball too long when the pocket was collapsing and it hurt UW in this instance.

Notes: Eric VandenHeuvel was whistled for a false start penalty on the very first play of the drive.

Drive No. 6: Started on own 10 yard line following Mesko punt.
Plays: 3
Yards: 2
Result: Punt

Best play: UW looked to be in good shape to move the chains when Hill rushed for a bruising seven yards on the first and 10.

Worst play: On third and one, Evridge was sacked by Jonas Mouton for a seven yard loss.

Notes: On Brad Nortman's punt, Badger special teamer Will Hartman forced a Greg Mathews fumble which Turner recovered.

Drive No. 7: Started on own 40 yard line following Mathews fumbled punt return.
Plays: 4
Yards: 60
Result: Touchdown (13-0 Wisconsin)

Best play: Even though John Clay only had three carries throughout the game, he still made a major impact. On third and one near midfield, Clay broke a run outside and rumbled down to the Michigan five-yard line. He would score on the next play.

Notes: Clay's 46 yard run set a new career high for the freshman tailback.

Drive No. 8: Started on Michigan 27 yard line following fumble on kickoff
Plays: 4
Yards: 3
Result: 41 yard Welch field goal (16-0 Wisconsin)

Best play: The Badgers started their drives inside Wolverine territory most of the first half, but they usually just settled for field goals. The only play of this drive that netted any yards was a Hill three yard run on first and 10.

Worst play: Two incomplete passes intended for Lance Kendricks and Turner[/db] prematurely ended the Badger drive. Kendricks dropped the first, which would have been enough for a first down.

Drive No. 9: Started on own 41 yard line following Mesko punt.
Plays: 3
Yards: 7
Result: Punt

Best play: Four yard run by Zach Brown on second and ten.
Worst play: Incomplete pass to Turner on first down failed to set the tempo for the sputtering drive.

Drive No. 10 Started on own 49 yard line following Shane Carter interception.
Plays: 6
Yards: 16
Result: 52 yard Welch field goal (19-0 Wisconsin)

Best play: Welch connected on his career long field goal (52 yards) and gave the Badgers, what at the time seemed like, an insurmountable lead.

Worst play: On second and ten, Evridge threw the ball to Kyle Jefferson who was tackled for no gain, forcing the Badgers into another long third down scenario.

3rd quarter:

Drive No. 11: Started on own 17 yard line following Mesko punt.
Plays: 11
Yards: 42
Result: Punt

Best play: Back to back nine yard runs by Hill and Bill Rentmeester made it seem the Badgers were going to continue to pound the Wolverines. However, that would not be the case.

Worst play: Facing third and nine, Evridge dumped the ball to receiver Elijah Theus for a three yard gain. The play was one of several questionable decisions by the senior quarterback and he never really gave Theus a chance to get the first down.

Drive No. 12: Started on Michigan 46 yard line following Michigan kickoff (19-7 Wisconsin) and personal foul penalty.
Plays: 3
Yards: -3
Result: Punt

Worst play: After Michigan had a long 14 play, 80 yard touchdown drive, the Badger offense repays their defense with a quick three and out. This drive added fuel to the developing Wolverine momentum.

4th quarter:

Drive No. 13: Started on own 44 yard line following Mesko punt.
Plays: 3
Yards: 7
Result: Punt

Worst play: Once again, the Badgers go three and out and sustain a drive for only 1:18. When it was visible UW's defense was wearing down, the offense needed a long drive, but they were never unable to muster one.

Drive No. 14: Started on own 20 following Michigan kickoff (19-14 Wisconsin)
Plays: 1
Yards: 0
Result: Interception for touchdown

Only play: Evridge, while in a three step drop, forced a pass to Jefferson on a slant. While the ball on target and hit the receiver in the hands, Jefferson was unable to hold onto the ball and tipped it into the air. Wolverine defender John Thompson intercepted the ball and rumbled 25 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. (20-19 Michigan)

Drive No. 15: Started on own 22 yard line following kickoff
Plays: 3
Yards: 9
Result: Punt

Notes: Following the monumental momentum swing, the Badger offense looked shocked and consequently suffered another three and out.

Drive No. 16: Started on own 29 yard line following kickoff (27-19 Michigan)
Plays: 11
Yards: 63
Result: Fumble

Best play: After Michigan scored a critical touchdown, the Badgers had plenty of time to drive down the field for the potential game tying drive. On third 10, Brown was given the ball on a draw where he caught Michigan off guard and picked up the first down to keep the drive alive.

Worst play: With the Badgers inside the Michigan 10 yard line, Evridge dropped back to pass. While scanning downfield, he was hit from behind, fumbled and threw away an outstanding opportunity to get back into the game.

Drive No. 17: Started on own 36 yard line following Mesko punt.
Plays: 6
Yards: 64
Result: Touchdown (27-25 Michigan)

Best play: The first big play of the drive was when Evridge somehow snuck a ball into Kendricks for a 29 yard gain. Kendricks was way down field and covered well, but somehow he held onto the ball and set the Badgers up for the touchdown. Following that big play, Evridge connected with Gilreath three plays later for an impressive 22-yard touchdown.

Worst play: On the ensuing two point conversion, Travis Beckum caught what seemed to be the game tying conversion. However, an illegal receiver downfield negated the play and cost the Badger's five costly yards. Evridge then threw too high to Isaac Anderson in the back of the end zone.

Notes: Beckum lined up on wrong side of the ball and was not off the line like he should have been. Thus, Turner was ruled ineligible and was flagged for it.

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