You can only get your tail whipped at something so many times before you’re going to step up and do something about it. At least that’s what Badger captain and Senior Safety Jay Valai was probably thinking before he blocked a potential game-tying extra point late in the 4th quarter against the Arizona State Sun Devils. With that, the Badgers were able to escape with a 20-19 victory at Camp Randall to improve to 3-0.
All day long the Sun Devils beat up on the Badgers special teams until Valaicame through with the big play. But go figure, the other play of the game was also made on special teams for Big Red. In what might go down as the “hustle play of the year”, Badgers reserve safety Shelton Johnson made a touchdown-saving tackle at the one-yard line as time expired in the first half. Also give some credit to freshman Dezmon Southward who slowed down Kyle Middlebrooks before Johnson tripped him up at the one.
Three games into the season we still do not have a grasp on this years football team. Consider this one as a game the Badgers should have lost, without a doubt. Arizona State missed several opportunities and shot themselves in the foot with penalties throughout the second half. Kudos to Sun Devil quarterback Steven Threet for keeping his team in the game as he took several monster hits in the second half. Badger fans should be happy they aren’t going to see him for a long time.
During the first two weeks of the season, the Badgers repeatedly were the ones committing big mistakes and turning the ball over. They didn’t make those same mistakes on Saturday but they just didn’t play well in general. In areas they are usually solid in, they point blank stunk up the joint. 6-14 on third down conversions. 169 rushing yards given up, 122 coming from reserve tailback Denatre Lewis on just nine carries. That can’t happen against mediocre football teams.
The Badgers miss Nick Toon and David Gilreath. Jared Abbrederis again had a nice game, but they need game breakers on offense to help John Clay and Lance Kendricks. And speaking of Clay, when are the Badgers going to turn him loose? He needs to be up around 30 carries a game now. We are three games into the season and Big Ten play is a mere two weeks away. A friend of mine asked me what’s up with the play of the offensive line the other day and I told him there isn’t anything to worry about. But now, I’m joining him on the worried list. This is one of the most experienced groups in the country and they are struggling with teams like UNLV, Arizona State and San Jose State. What are they going to do against the uber-talented Iowa front line? How about Ohio State? Carimi and company better get it together, and do it fast.
One other big thing to note is linebacker Chris Borland again left the game with a lingering shoulder issue. The Badgers may be forced to use his redshirt in what was supposed to be a strong sophomore campaign for one of the defensive leaders. Clearly he was not ready to come back to action this early after off-season surgery. And one more thing, how good is Lance Kendricks? The Badgers have had tons of talent at tight end in recent years, but Kendricks might be the best of all.
Up next is Austin Peay in Madison on Saturday, so don’t expect to get a gauge on this Badger team just yet. They better absolutely roll this team in their final tune-up before they travel to East Lansing in just two weeks for the start of Big Ten play.
About the Author
Written by Chad Seely
Hey sports fans! Welcome to my Wisconsin Badgers football blog. For any Badger scores, news or questions you may have, come check out this blog! For those who don't know me, I'm a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. I graduated in May 2009 with a Broadcast Journalism degree and returned in Fall 2009 to get a Minor in Multimedia which I completed in May 2010. In the summer, you can catch me on AM1230 WSBB, splitting time as the play-by-play announcer and color commentator for the Daytona Cubs, the Advanced-A Affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.