September 14, 2009

Series by series: UW's defense against FSU

MADISON, Wis. - Defensively, the first half of Saturday's game against Fresno State was about as ugly as it could be. Luckily for Wisconsin, adjustments were made at halftime and a much better, more aggressive defense took the field in the second half and overtime.

Now, takes a look back at each individual defensive series.

First Quarter:

Defensive series No. 1: Started on Fresno States 30 yard line.
Plays: 3
Yards given up: 4
Result: 59-yard Robert Malone punt.

Key play: On third and six, freshman Chris Borland batted down the pass from Fresno State quarterback Ryan Colburn.

Defensive series No. 2: Started on Fresno State 41 yard line following 58-yard Brad Nortman punt.
Plays: 9
Yards given up: 59
Result: 13-yard Chastin West touchdown reception. (7-0 Fresno State)

Key play: On two straight plays, Colburn found West for a total of 24 yards. Obviously the Bulldogs saw Aaron Henry was under the weather and they attacked him throughout the drive, including the 13-yard slant for a touchdown to cap the drive.

Defensive series No. 3: Started on Fresno State 11 yard line following 51-yard Nortman punt.
Plays: 3
Yards given up: 2
Result: 36-yard Malone punt.

Key play: Fresno State tried to set up a screen pass on third and nine, but Wisconsin linebacker Blake Sorensen dropped the running back for only a one yard gain.

Second Quarter:

Defensive series No. 4: Started on Fresno State 30 yard line following missed Philip Welch field goal.
Plays: 1
Yards given up: 70
Result: 70-yard Devon Wylie touchdown reception. (14-0 Fresno State)

Key play: UW corner Devin Smith was beat from the start of the play and Colburn hit Wylie in stride for an easy 70-yard touchdown pitch and catch.

Defensive series No. 5: Started on Fresno State 28 yard line following kickoff. (14-7 Fresno State)
Plays: 11
Yards given up: 72
Result: 14-yard Seyi Ajirotutu touchdown reception. (21-7 Fresno State)

Key play: With a chance to get off the field following Zach Brown's touchdown run, UW allowed Colburn to hit Wylie for 14 yards on third and five. Only six plays later, the Bulldogs scored a touchdown to open up another 14-point lead.

Defensive series No. 6: Started on Fresno State 34 yard line following kickoff. (21-14 Fresno State)
Plays: 6
Yards given up: 20
Result: 46-yard Malone punt.

Key play: As Fresno finally got into Badger territory, O'Brien Schofield burst into the backfield and brought down Ryan Mathews for a loss of five yards to subsequently sidetrack the drive.

Third Quarter:

Defensive series No. 7: Started on Fresno State 20 yard line following 37-yard Nortman punt.
Plays: 7
Yards given up: 39
Result: Niles Brinkley interception.

Key play: Facing a third and three, Ryan Colburn rolled out and delivered a pass directly to Brinkley who was covering the seam route. It seemed as though no Bulldog was in the vicinity of the throw and had Brinkley not stumbled, he may have returned it for a touchdown.

Defensive series No. 8: Started on Fresno State three yard line.
Plays: 5
Yards given up: 67
Result: Antonio Fenelus interception.

Key play: For a drive that started inside its own five yard line, Fresno State was making great progress down the field. Following a 55-yard Mathews burst, Colburn's pass was deflected by Culmer St. Jean during the ensuing play and eventually fell into the hands of Fenelus for a big interception.

Fourth Quarter:

Defensive series No. 9: Started on own 1 yard line following 42-yard Nortman punt.
Plays: 16
Yards given up: 71
Result: Missed 45-yard field goal.

Key play: Again, the Bulldogs were pinned deep in their own territory but managed to make something out of it. Clinging to a slim 21-17 lead, FSU ate nearly nine minutes off the clock. But, when the time arose for the Fresno to score, its kicker Kevin Goessling missed the attempt and the Badgers took over.

Defensive series No. 10: Started on Fresno State 34 yard line following kickoff. (24-21 Wisconsin)
Plays: 4
Yards given up: 13
Result: 48-yard Malone punt

Key play: UW's John Clay scored on a quick hitting 72-yard touchdown run. Obviously, it was good for UW to take the lead, but at the same time, the drive didn't give an exhausted defense much time to recover.

Still, the unit dug down deep and forced Fresno to punt and give the offense a chance to seal the win in regulation.

Defensive series No. 11: Started on Fresno State 41 yard line following 47-yard Nortman punt.
Plays: 8
Yards given up: 35
Result: 41-yard Goessling field goal (24-24)

Key play: On second and ten, with less than a half minute to play, Colburn barely overthrew an outstretched Darren Newborn. Had the pass had a little more loft on it, Newborn would have likely caught it for a go ahead touchdown. Instead, the Bulldogs had to settle for a field goal to send it to overtime.

Overtime No. 1: Started on Wisconsin 25 yard line.
Plays: 5
Yards given up: 25
Result: Seven-yard Ajirotutu touchdown catch. (31-31)

Key play: Facing a second and goal from the 16-yard line, senior linebacker Jaevery McFadden was flagged for pass interference when Mathews slipped behind him. Really, McFadden had no other choice as he was beat and just dove to try to break up the pass. He was whistled for interference, but it prevented an easy touchdown. Still, it was irrelevant as the Bulldogs scored a couple of plays later anyway.

Overtime No. 2: Started on Wisconsin 25 yard line.
Plays: 1
Yards given up: 0
Result: Chris Maragos interception.

Key play: Maragos looked to have been beat on the post route, but when Colburn's pass floated too much, Maragos made up the ground and undercut the route for the clutch interception. It was the second game-ending play so to speak from Maragos in the season's first two games.

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