Wisconsin report card

first_imgGame Ball — P.J. Hill, RB, WisconsinSophomore tailback P.J. Hill bruised his way for 147 yards last week in 98 degree heat. He was compensated with nothing. Saturday, in restitution for his efforts in Vegas and for his utter dominance of The Citadel’s defense, Hill scored five touchdowns to tie a school record. Of Hill’s 25 rushes, four of them went for 20 or more yards. He also got into the passing game, snaring two balls for 20 yards and a third-quarter touchdown. Beyond the stat sheet, Hill kept the team moving forward. When a big play was needed, the 2006 Big Ten Freshman of the Year was there. Hill made the difference Saturday.Overall — B-Woe to the defense. Without it, the Badgers’ day would have been pretty noteworthy. P.J. Hill tied a school record with five touchdowns, Tyler Donovan threw for over 200 yards and two scores, and returner David Gilreath and punter Ken DeBauche helped Wisconsin win the field position battle. Nearly everything went well for the offense. In stark contrast, nearly everything went poorly for the defense: several missed assignments led to wide-open touchdown receptions and numerous big gains for The Citadel Bulldogs. Yes, the defense once again settled down in the second half, but the bottom line is Mike Hankwitz’s unit needs to get up to play on the opening kick of the game, not 30 minutes later. Offense — A-It’s hard to hand out A’s, but the offense Saturday got pretty close. P.J. Hill was everything Wisconsin needed him to be when the defense couldn’t stop anyone, rushing for a career-high four touchdowns and catching another en route to nearly 200 total yards. Tyler Donovan made few mistakes (none of which cost the Badgers), throwing for 201 yards and a couple of end zone strikes. Even Lance Smith looked electric in relief. Zach Brown did cough up the ball, UW’s first offensive turnover of the season, but 45 points and 463 yards easily made up for it. Defense — DOne of the Badgers’ strongest points coming into the season has been anything but. It gave up 377 total yards, including 254 through the air. Worse yet were the 31 points allowed. For the third consecutive week, Wisconsin’s opponent stormed down the field on its second possession of the game and scored a touchdown. Kirk DeCremer’s overall play and the third quarter were the lone bright spots for the defense. It continues to get beat upfront and lose leverage on the football early on before adjusting in the second half. With Big Ten play beginning next week, Wisconsin has some straightening out to do.Special Teams — B+Freshman return man David Gilreath carried the rock in his arm and momentum on his shoulders. A 34-yard punt return on Wisconsin’s first possession helped set the tempo for what would be the P.J. Hill Show. He averaged 25 yards per kickoff return and 18.3 yards per punt return. Ken DeBauche landed two punts inside the 20, and thanks to special teams, the Badgers won the field position battle throughout. While Taylor Mehlhaff failed to kick a touchback and DeBauche’s punt average was down, UW was in the black with this unit Saturday. Who’s Up Next — IowaIowa began the season 2-0, picking up wins against Northern Illinois and Syracuse. The Hawkeyes’ success ran dry Saturday as in-state rival Iowa State shut them down. At halftime, the Cyclones held a 12-0 advantage. After coming back to take a 13-12 lead, Iowa allowed Iowa State to drive down the field and split the uprights on a 28-yard field goal as time expired. Iowa will be seeking revenge this Saturday against Tyler Donovan and Wisconsin after the senior picked up a win in his first career start last season in Iowa City.last_img

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