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September 19, 2010

Series by series: UW's defense against ASU

MADISON - When a defense only gives up one offensive touchdown throughout the course of a game, one would probably think the game went in that team's favor. And they would probably think that it wasn't really close.

Unfortunately for Wisconsin, though the defense was erratic at times, the game was kept close by special teams blunder. Ironically enough, however, it was a special teams play that eventually sealed the game for the Badgers.

Now, with Saturday in the rearview, BadgerBlitz.com takes a look back at the day that was on the defensive side of the ball. The following is a series-by-series recap of every defensive possession from UW.

FIRST QUARTER:

Defensive series No. 1: Started on ASU 27 yard line following missed 44-yard Philip Welch touchdown.
Plays: 14
Yards given up: 66
Result: Missed Thomas Weber 25-yard field goal.

Key play: It was only the sixth play of the game when Chris Borland aggravated the same shoulder that had kept him out the previous week and the same shoulder that required surgery in the spring. At this point, it seems the injury may be worse than it was earlier this season.

SECOND QUARTER:

Note: ASU's Omar Bolden returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown following UW's field goal late in the first quarter. (7-3 ASU)

Defensive series No. 2: Drive started on ASU 10 yard line following 51-yard Brad Nortman punt.
Plays: 12
Yards given up: 82
Result: 25-yard Weber field goal. (10-3 ASU)

Key play: It looked as though the ASU offense successfully picked up a UW blitz on second and 10 and Deantre Lewis found a seam to break out for a 38 yard gain. The play gave ASU momentum for the rest of the drive.

Defensive series No. 3: Started on ASU 14 yard line following kickoff (10-6 ASU)
Plays: 4
Yards given up: 13
Result: 55-yard Trevor Hankins punt,

Key play: Louis Nzegwu burst past ASU's left tackle and closed in on Steven Threet in very quick fashion for a sack on second and 10.

Note: After Scott Tolzien found Lance Kendricks for a 14-yard touchdown late in the half it seemed as though UW was going to head to the locker room comfortably.

However, when Kyle Middlebrooks broke through the wedge on the ensuing kickoff, all that momentum looked to swing back in ASU's favor. Luckily for UW, though, both Dezmen Southward and Shelton Johnson combined on a play to get Middlebrooks down at the one yard line with no time left on the clock.

THIRED QUARTER:

Defensive series No. 4: Started on ASU 24 yard line following kickoff. (13-10 UW)
Plays: 10
Yards given up: 58
Result: 36-yard Weber field goal. (13-13)

Key play: Though it looked like he arrived early, Niles Brinkley was not flagged for pass interference. The pass breakup forced the Sun Devils to settle for a field goal.

Defensive series No. 5: Started on ASU two yard line following 34-yard Nortman punt.
Plays: 4
Yards given up: 25
Result: 61-yard Hankins punt.

Key play: Kevin Rouse came free on a blitz and sacked Threet on third and nine, forcing the ASU punt.

Defensive series No. 6: Started on ASU 25 yard line following kickoff. (20-13 UW)
Plays: 6
Yards given up: 17
Result: 54-yard Hankins punt.

Key play: Rouse nearly got to Threet again on third and long, but this time the hurry allowed Brinkley to position himself for a pass break up.

FOURTH QUARTER:

Defensive series No. 7: Started on ASU 39 yard line following 48-yard Nortman punt.
Plays: 5
Yards given up: 22
Result: 39-yard Hankins punt.

Key play: After Watt left the game with another quad contusion, UW's defense was able to get off the field on third and 13 by dropping Mike Willie for a nine-yard gain.

Defensive series No. 8: Started on ASU 23 yard line following 39-yard Nortman punt.
Plays: 9
Yards given up: 77
Result: Two-yard Cameron Marshall touchdown rush. (20-19 UW)

Key play: After Marshall looked to have tied the game with his touchdown rush, Jay Valai came up huge. During the usually taken for granted extra point, Valai was able to secure the edge and position himself for the block. After laying out in a complete dive, Valai was able to get in front of the kick and save the day for the Badgers.



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