September 6, 2009

Series by series: UW's offense against NIU

MADISON, Wis. - Offensively, the Wisconsin football team utilized a balanced attack en route to racking up 433 yards of total offense. In addition to that, junior and first time starter Scott Tolzien led a couple of efficient drives and helped the offense convert seven-of-12 third downs as the Badgers held on for the 28-20 win over Northern Illinois.

The following is a series-by-series recap of UW's offensive possessions:

First Quarter:

Drive No. 1: Started on own 20 yard line following 33-yard Josh Wilber punt.
Plays: 1
Yards: 80
Result: Isaac Anderson touchdown

Key play: On the only play of the drive, Tolzien took the snap, faked a handoff to Zach Brown and delivered a beautiful pass to a wide-open Anderson. The NIU defensive backs bit on the play action and Anderson slipped past every defender, caught the ball and scored easily. (7-0 Wisconsin)

Drive No. 2: Started on own 40 yard line following 47-yard Wilber punt.
Plays: 6
Yards: 22
Result: Missed 55-yard field goal by Philip Welch

Key play: After Tolzien connected with Garrett Graham, and with the offense seemingly poised to drive down the field again, junior left tackle Gabe Carimi was whistled for a false start.

The penalty destroyed the flow of the drive and forced UW to eventually settle for a long field goal try that was consequently missed.

Drive No. 3: Started on own 42 yard line following kickoff. (7-3 Wisconsin)
Plays: 7
Yards: 58
Result: 23-yard Anderson touchdown run

Key Play: Carimi, who was whistled for a false start on the previous drive, redeemed himself on the Anderson touchdown. Once again, NIU bit on the misdirection and left most of the opposite side of the field open for Anderson on the end around. Only one Huskie had a chance to bring him down, but Carimi got just enough of him to allow Anderson to get around the edge and score. (14-3 Wisconsin)

Second quarter:

Drive No. 4: Started on own 13 yard line following kickoff. (14-6 Wisconsin)
Plays: 11
Yards: 50
Result: 21-yard Brad Nortman punt.

Key Play: Facing a third and three, and in his first possession as a college quarterback, Curt Phillips found Graham for an 11-yard completion. The catch extended the drive that unfortunately stalled out a few plays later.

Drive No. 5: Started on NIU's 24 yard line following turnover.
Plays: 1
Yards: 0
Result: Tolzien interception

Key Play: Following Mike Taylor's strip of NIU running back Me'co Brown, Tolzien started the next drive with an interception. However, it seemed the running back missed his assignment on the blitzing corner and the corner hit Tolzien as he was throwing. The ball floated easily into the hands of Cory Hanson.

Drive No. 6: Started on own 24 yard line following 41-yard Wilber punt.
Plays: 4
Yards: 22
Result: 45-yard Nortman punt.

Key play: With the first half clock running down, the Badgers lost any chance of a late score when Tolzien connected with Graham for nine yards on third and 11. It seemed that Graham could have run the route a bit deeper, but when he came back for the ball, he was tackled well short.

Third Quarter:

Drive No. 7: Started on own eight yard line following kickoff and block in the back penalty.
Plays: 11
Yards: 92
Result: One-yard John Clay touchdown run. (21-6 Wisconsin)


Key play: Near midfield and in a third and nine situation, Tolzien stood in the pocket that was quickly breaking down, took a hit, but still managed to connect with Nick Toon for a 21-yard gain. The play kept the drive alive and UW went on to score four plays later.
Drive No. 8: Started on own 33 yard line following 30-yard Wilber punt.
Plays: 12
Yards: 67
Result: One-yard Clay touchdown rush. (28-6 Wisconsin)

Key play: Following a run by Clay that lost two yards, Tolzien hit Graham in the middle of the field for 19 yards. Graham, who had been terrorizing the Huskies defense all day was in tight coverage. However, Tolzien delivered a perfect pass and Graham made the catch.

The Badgers went on to score 10 plays later.

Drive No. 9: Started on own 23 yard line following 38-yard Wilber punt.
Plays: 8
Yards: 53
Result: Missed 41-yard Welch field goal.

Key play: On the first play of the drive, Phillips took the naked bootleg, reached the corner and outran a defender for an explosive 20-yard gain.

Fourth quarter:

Drive No. 10: Started on own 20 following NIU kickoff. (28-12)
Plays: 1
Yards: 0
Result: Tolzien interception

Key play: Tolzien looked to have Toon open in the seam, however the throw came out a bit low and was intercepted by NIU linebacker Cory Hanson.

Drive No. 11: Started on own 36 yard line following NIU turnover on downs.
Plays: 3
Yards: -5
Result: End of game.

Key play: Any time a team lines up in the victory formation, you know the game will end well for them.

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