November 17, 2008

Series by series: UW's offense against Minnesota

MADISON, Wis. - When the snow flurries settled Saturday evening at Camp Randall Stadium, the Wisconsin football team defeated rival Minnesota 35-32.

After entering the locker room trailing 21-7, it looked like much of the same from a season that had grown tired. But UW's resiliency and its determination to retain the axe brought it back for the thrilling win.


The following is a look back at every offensive possession from Saturday's contest:

First quarter:

Drive No. 1: Started on Minnesota 10 yard line following fumble recovery
Plays: 4
Yards: 10
Result: Two-yard Garrett Graham touchdown reception. (7-0 Wisconsin)

Key play: On fourth and goal, Dustin Sherer rolled out to his right looking desperately for someone to throw to. Then, as he was about to run out of time, the junior found Graham in the back of the end zone for an early lead.

Drive No. 2: Started on own 13 yard line following Justin Kucek punt.
Plays: 3
Yards: -1
Result:

Key play: As he was pass blocking on third and 11, P.J. Hill was injured. He did not return until the second quarter.

Drive No. 3: Started on own 19 yard line following Kucek punt.
Plays: 11
Yards: 65
Result: Blocked Philip Welch field goal attempt.

Key play: Early in the drive, Minnesota native David Gilreath caught Sherer's pass in the right slot and sprinted for a 30-yard gain. Still, once the Badgers stalled at the Gophers 16 yard line, Welch had his field goal attempt blocked.

Second quarter:

Drive No. 4: Started on own 16 yard line following Kucek punt.
Plays: 2
Yards: 6
Result: John Clay lost fumble.

Key play: Clay was somewhat banged up on this play as he left the field favoring his shoulder. He later returned to the game, but his fumble on second and six set up Minnesota's first touchdown drive.

Drive No. 5: Started on own 17 yard line following kickoff. (7-7 tie)
Plays: 3
Yards: -1
Result: 42-yard Brad Nortman punt.

Key play: Facing a manageable third and five situation, Sherer dropped back and took a sack to force an obvious punting situation.

Drive No. 6: Started on own 30 yard line following kickoff. (14-7 Minnesota)
Plays: 3
Yards: -5
Result: 45-yard Nortman punt.

Key play: Willie VanDeSteeg broke through the Badger offensive line and brought Sherer down for a seven yard loss on second and eight.

Drive No. 7: Started on own 20 yard line following kickoff. (21-7 Minnesota)
Plays: 6
Yards: 51
Result: Hill lost fumble.

Key play: Over its previous two drives, Wisconsin had gained exactly negative six yards on five plays. Once, Hill broke out of a cluster near midfield and rumbled in the open field, it looked like the Badgers had some offensive momentum. But, as he was nearing the end of the run, he was hit from behind and fumbled.

Drive No. 8: Started on Minnesota 43 yard line following Kucek punt and Gilreath return.
Plays: 5
Yards: 22
Result: Kyle Jefferson lost fumble.

Key play: Jefferson caught Sherer's pass across the middle, ran for 10 yards and an apparent first down, but at the end of the run he took a blow to the head and fumbled. However, once it was apparent Jefferson was motionless, the scene turned very somber.

After a lengthy delay for obvious reasons, the sophomore wide out was taken off the field in an ambulance. After tests, it was determined Jefferson suffered a concussion and is expected to make a full recovery.



Third quarter:

Drive No. 9: Started on own 11 yard line following second half kickoff.
Plays: 9
Yards: 59
Result: 47-yard Welch field goal. (21-10 Minnesota)

Key play: Hill set the tone on the very first play of the half as he broke a 38-yard run to bust into Minnesota territory.

Drive No. 10: Started on own 28 yard line following Kucek punt.
Plays: 11
Yards: 72
Result: Hill one-yard touchdown run. (21-17 Minnesota)

Key play: UW was on the outskirt of Welch's field goal range on third and seven when Sherer evaded a collapsing pocket, rolled to his right, and found Isaac Anderson along the sidelines for a 31-yard gain and a huge first down.

Fourth quarter:

Drive No. 11: Started on own 25 yard line following kickoff. (24-17 Minnesota)
Plays: 7
Yards: 75
Result: Hill one-yard touchdown run. (24-24 tie)

Key play: Sherer may have thrown the best ball of his career when he bulleted a 39-yard strike to Anderson to set up the Badger offense at the Gopher one yard line. On the next play, Hill bullied his way in for the tying touchdown score.

NOTE:
-Key play: On the ensuing kickoff, Bill Rentmeester delivered a hit on Gopher punt returner Troy Stoudermire. Then, Antonio Fenelus put his helmet on the ball and forced the fumble. Even though UW was unable to pounce on the lose ball, it recorded a safety on the play. (26-24 Wisconsin)

Drive No. 12: Started on own 40 yard line following free kickoff after safety.
Plays: 3
Yards: 8
Result: 45-yard Nortman punt.

Drive No. 13: Started on own 48 yard line following free kickoff after safety. (28-24 Wisconsin)
Plays: 3
Yards: 4
Result: 37-yard Nortman punt.

Key play: Sherer found Nick Toon for an 11-yard reception, but the freshman was unable to get one more yard that would have given UW a first down.

Drive No. 14: Started on Minnesota 11 yard line following Jonathan Casillas fumble recovery.
Plays: 2
Yards: 11
Result: Clay five-yard touchdown run. (35-24 Wisconsin)

Key play: Clay had two handoffs on the drive and gained six and five yards on the two carries for the touchdown.

Drive No. 15: Started on own 37 yard line following kickoff. (35-32 Wisconsin)
Plays: 3
Yards: 4
Result: 37-yard Nortman punt.

Key play: UW ran the ball three straight times to force Minnesota to use its timeouts.

Drive No. 16: Started on Minnesota 14 yard line following Niles Brinkley interception.
Plays: 4
Yards: -4
Result: End of game

Key play: Sherer took three kneels to clinch the Badger win.

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