November 23, 2009

Series by series: UW's defense against NU

Entering the game against Northwestern, Wisconsin's defense had only allowed four teams to score more than 27 points. Unfortunately for the Badgers, the Wildcats' 27 points in the first half set up a 33 point defensive drubbing.

Though things got a little better in the second half, UW still struggled to pull out the victory and therefore lost a likely shot at a January bowl game.

Before proceeding with the bye week, BadgerBlitz.com looks back at the defensive series' that were in Saturday's game. The following is a series-by-series recap of every defensive series for the Badgers.

FIRST QUARTER:

Defensive series No. 1: Started on NU 25 yard line following kickoff.
Plays: 10
Yards given up: 75
Result: 26-yard Andrew Brewer touchdown reception. (7-0 Northwestern)

Key play: The Badgers had a couple of opportunities to shut down NU's opening drive, but on two separate occasions Mike Kafka and company were able to pick up third down conversions. Then, with the new life, the team capitalized and scored from 26 yards out.

Defensive series No. 2: Started on NU 14 yard line following 37-yard Brad Nortman punt.
Plays: 3
Yards given up: 3
Result: 31-yard Stefan Demos punt.

Key play: Kafka looked like he had a ton of space to make something happen on second and seven, but UW sophomore J.J. Watt was just able to trip him up for no gain.

Defensive series No. 3: Started on NU 20 yard line following 46-yard Nortman punt.
Plays: 8
Yards given up: 52
Result: 45-yard Demos field goal. (10-0 Northwestern)

Key play: Near Wisconsin's 41 yard line, it looked as though Patrick Butrym was going to sack Kafka. However, the shifty senior snuck out of the tackle and got back to the line of scrimmage, avoiding any loss of yardage.

SECOND QUARTER:

Defensive series No. 4: Started on NU 35 yard line following kickoff. (10-7 Northwestern)
Plays: 1
Yards given up: 2
Result: Jaevery McFadden fumble recovery.

Key play: During the only play, freshman Chris Borland forced his fifth fumble of the season when he hit the Wildcat running back.

Defensive series No. 5: Started on UW 34 yard line following kick return. (14-10 Wisconsin)
Plays: 7
Yards given up: 34
Result: 12-yard Brewer touchdown reception. (17-14 Northwestern)

Key play: Again, the Badgers could not get off the field on third down as Kafka carved the defense up. The worst was on third and 10 from the 12 when Kafka found Brewer for an easy pitch and catch for the touchdown.

Defensive series No. 6: Started on NU 20 yard line following 36-yard Nortman punt.
Plays: 3
Yards given up: 80
Result: 38-yard Sidney Stewart touchdown reception. (24-14 Northwestern)

Key play: With a little trickery, Northwestern scored an easy touchdown. On the play, Kafka threw a lateral to the wide receiver near the sideline. It looked similar to a bubble screen the Cats had been running for some time during the game, but instead of running, he threw to a receiver wide-open downfield for the score.

Defensive series No. 7: Started on NU 39 yard line following 48-yard Nortman punt.
Plays: 6
Yards given up: 40
Result: 38-yard Demos field goal. (27-14 Northwestern)

Key play: On second and nine, UW junior linebacker Culmer St. Jean met the receiver before the ball got there and was nailed for pass interference. The penalty gave NU a first down and helped them move the ball into field goal range.

THIRD QUARTER:

Defensive series No. 8: Started on NU six yard line following kickoff and penalty. (27-17 Northwestern)
Plays: 4
Yards given up: 29
Result: 33-yard Demos punt that was returned 68 yards for touchdown by David Gilreath

Key play: For the first time in his career, Gilreath was able to take a punt and return it to the house. He stepped to his left, found a lane and hit it with a burst of speed that hasn't been seen this season. Then he dodged the kicker and scored the touchdown.

Defensive series No. 9: Started on NU 42 yard line following kickoff.
Plays: 9
Yards given up: 30
Result: 45-yard Demos field goal.

Key play: With all the momentum on UW's side, the Wildcats were able to thwart some of it with a nice drive capped with a field goal. The big play came on third and six following a false start penalty. Kafka found Brewer for an eight-yard gain to end any hopes of UW's three and out.

Defensive series No. 10: Started on NU 38 yard line following turnover on downs.
Plays: 6
Yards given up: 45
Result: 34-yard Demos field goal. (33-24 Northwestern)

Key play: Kafka hit Stewart for 49 yards down the far sideline. On the play, it looked like Devin Smith was anticipating help over the top, but when there was none, he was on the hook for the big gain.

FOURTH QUARTER:

Defensive series No. 11: Started at NU 20 yard line following kickoff (33-31 Northwestern)
Plays: 6
Yards given up: 24
Result: 37-yard Demos punt.

Key play: For a change, the UW secondary was able to get off the field on third down. Smith read the route and was able to break it up before the NU receiver caught it for what would have been a first down.

Defensive series No. 12: Started on NU 15 yard line following 38-yard Nortman punt.
Plays: 3
Yards given up: 8
Result: 33-yard Demos punt.

Key play: It finally started to look like the Badger defense was making plays on that side of the ball. Facing a third and two, Niles Brinkley blindsided a receiver about to make the catch, forcing the incompletion. Thus, the UW offense had a chance to take the lead with a field goal.

Defensive series No. 13: Started on NU 41 yard line following John Clay fumble.
Plays: 3
Yards given up: 2
Result: 37-yard Demos punt.

Key play: UW held NU to a quick three and out, but used all its remaining timeouts. Therefore, Scott Tolzien and the rest of the offense only had 42 seconds to try and score.

Defensive series No. 14: Started on NU 40 yard line following interception.
Plays: 1
Yards given up: -3
Result: END OF GAME

Key play: Kafka took the snap and knelt the ball. Then the fans rushed the field in celebration of NU's season-ending victory.

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