Badgers win ugly, stay undefeated
By Ben Hubner The Daily Cardinal
Madison, WI (U-WIRE) -- After gaining 214 total yards against Michigan, Wisconsin running back Brian Calhoun came into Saturday's game with a bulls-eye on his back. The Hoosiers stacked the line and did their best to hit their target-doing so successfully, holding Calhoun to just 101 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown. Unfortunately for Indiana, they were too busy waiting for hand-offs to notice that the stars of the game Saturday were lined up wide.
Senior receivers Brandon Williams and Jonathan Orr had three touchdowns and 241 yards between them-Williams leading the way in catches (six) and scores (two) and Orr having the edge in yards (128). Orr and Williams became the first UW receiving duo to each have 100-yards in a game since 1993.
While the game was never really in question, the Badgers came into the game a bit hung-over from the dramatic comeback win against the Wolverines the week before and it showed. Quarterback John Stocco-one of last week's heroes-threw two early interceptions and the secondary gave up several big plays in the first half, even allowing Indiana's James Hardy to catch two touchdowns on 157 yards for the game.
"They had some deep passes on us," said Wisconsin junior defensive back Roderick Rogers. "Teams can see that they can be successful against us on the deep pass. So as a secondary we just have to get better and defend that more."
While Indiana attacked the inexperience in the Badger secondary, the defense made plays to compensate.
Wisconsin forced four turnovers; two fumbles and two interceptions. The first interception was a beautiful read across the middle by seldom-used freshman defensive back Jack Ikegwuonu, which set up Williams' second touchdown catch of the day.
"It was surreal ... a dream come true," Ikegwuono said of his pick. "I think every kid growing dreams about making a big play like that for the Badgers."
Fellow freshman Allen Langford grabbed the other interception, but Stocco gave the ball right back as UW was unable to capitalize on the turnover. In the end, however, the story was the offense, which took to the air and showed the Big Ten that the Badgers have a not-so-secret second dimension.
"Our offense has been so successful so far this season but like we have been saying every week there is still things that we can improve on," Orr said. "We did think that this would be a good game to try and open things up a little bit and it worked out."
To say the least. Indiana's anticipation of the run allowed the Badgers to call the same play-action play twice-early in the first quarter and then again in the fourth-which led to a pair of Jonathan Orr receptions for 47 yards down the middle of the field. The first of Orr's home run balls set up Williams' first touchdown, but the second one would help Orr catch a TD of his own-five plays after the deep ball, Stocco found Orr in the back of the end zone from 22 yards out.
"I was really excited," Orr said of Wisconsin's pass-oriented offense Saturday. "In this offense we are asked to block a lot and we don't mind that, but as a receiver you do like to get some of those balls up in the air. Overall as a receiving core we were excited about the game plan today."
Since the efficiency of the run game relies on the proficiency of the pass, Calhoun may have see considerably more open field in weeks to come. Stocco finished the day with 274 yards through the air and three touchdowns, compliments of his dynamic duo at wideout. He proved once again-as he did last year against Minnesota-that he can put the ball in the hands of his talented teammates and lead Wisconsin to a win in a shootout.
UW's young defense will work to make sure they do not give up so many big passing plays and allow the opposition to stretch the field. If need be, the only team throwing with success will be the Badgers.
(C) 2004 The Daily Cardinal via U-WIRE
Re: Badgers win ugly, stay undefeated
Long Live Wisconsin!! Go Big Red!!
Re: Badgers win ugly, stay undefeated
Heck yeah! Calhoun for Heisman!