November 16, 2009

Series by series: UW's defense against Michigan

MADISON - Defensively, Wisconsin had a much stronger second half than first in Saturday's 45-24 win over Michigan. During the final 30 minutes, the Badgers hauled in an interception and made key stops allowing the offense to widen the margin.

In the end, it all added up to a blowout win over the Wolverines.

Today, takes one final glance at Saturday's game. The following is a series by series look at each defensive possession.

First Quarter:

Defensive series No. 1: Started on Michigan 30 yard line following kickoff.
Plays: 3
Yards given up: -3
Result: 48-yard Zoltan Mesko punt.

Key play: In front of a fired up crowd and with a lot of emotion, the Badger defense kicked off the game with a quick three and out. On third and eight, Jaevery McFadden and Louis Nzegwu combined to drop Tate Forcier for a loss of five yards.

Defensive series No. 2: Started on Michigan 26 yard line following kickoff. (7-0 Wisconsin)
Plays: 11
Yards given up: 74
Result: 21-yard Vincent Smith touchdown reception. (7-7)

Key play: Jeff Stehle made back-to-back tackles in the backfield including a 10-yard sack of Forcier to force a third and 24 situation. However, on that play, Forcier rolled out and connected with Roy Roundtree for 26 yards and a first down. Two plays later, the Wolverines scored.

Defensive series No. 3: Started on UW's 37 yard line following 34-yard Brad Nortman.
Plays: 9
Yards given up: 35
Result: J.J. Watt blocked field goal.

Key play: Michigan's drive stalled inside the Badger five yard line late in the first quarter. Trying to improve the angle for the field goal, the Wolverines took a delay of game penalty. But, after UW declined it, Watt perfectly timed the jump and wound up blocking the field goal try. He also made the tackle when the deflected ball fell into the hands of the kicker.

Second Quarter:

Defensive series No. 4: Started on the UW 25 yard line following Scott Tolzien's interception.
Plays: 4
Yards given up: 6
Result: 37-yard field goal. (10-7 Michigan)

Key play: On third and eight, Culmer St. Jean dropped Vincent Smith after his four-yard gain. The play forced the Wolverines to settle for a field goal after starting the drive in great field position.

Defensive series No. 5: Started on Michigan's 23 yard line following kickoff. (14-10 Wisconsin)
Plays: 9
Yards given up: 21
Result: 31-yard Mesko punt.

Key play: The Wolverines had been setting up the deep pass for the entirety of the half before Forcier went deep to Greg Mathews. At first, it looked as though Mathews had a step on the Badger defender, but Forcier's pass continued to drift toward the sideline, eventually forcing Mathews to catch it out of bounds.

Defensive series No. 6: Started on Michigan's 20 yard line following kickoff. (21-17 Wisconsin)
Plays: 8
Yards given up: 26

Key play: Michigan had moved the ball out near midfield with time winding down, but that was all the further it was able to get. The Badger defense locked down and eventually forced the Wolverines to run out of time.

Third Quarter:

Defensive series No. 7: Started on Michigan 40 yard line following kickoff. (28-17 Wisconsin)
Plays: 8
Yards given up: 60
Result: 10-yard Roy Roundtree touchdown reception. (28-24 Wisconsin)

Key play: The Badgers forced Michigan into a fourth and nine situation just outside of field goal range. On the play, Forcier found Junior Hemingway in the open area of the zone and got it to him just before Aaron Henry could make a play on it.

Defensive series No. 8: Started on Michigan's 15 yard line following kickoff. (35-24 Wisconsin)
Plays: 3
Yards given up: -7
Result: Niles Brinkley interception.

Key play: If Michigan had any life left, it was all but gone when Forcier went deep to Darryl Stonum only to have it picked off by Brinkley. In essence, the play served as a punt, but momentum-wise, it killed any hope for the Wolverines.

Fourth Quarter:

Defensive series No. 9: Started on the Michigan 26 yard line following kickoff. (42-24 Wisconsin)
Plays: 3
Yards given up: 3
Result: 41-yard Mesko punt.

Key play: The Badgers simply overpowered Michigan during the series and stopped anything from developing early, forcing the three and out.

Defensive series No. 10: Started on Michigan 21 yard line following kickoff. (45-24 Wisconsin)
Plays: 7
Yards given up: 42

Key play: With the game well in hand, the Badgers simply had to go through the motions during the Wolverines final drive. Eventually, Denard Robinson's fourth down pass sailed over his intended target, ending the game.

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