Saturday, September 12, 2009

Wisconsin-Fresno State thoughts

Very satisfied with the Badgers' win, lots to like. And, once again, lots on which to improve.

But let's focus on the former.

-The defense looked horrible in the first half, but the kids rallied to play a great second half and make big plays in overtime. Also give Dave Doeren for making appropriate adjustments.

-O'Brien Schofield was outstanding again, in the backfield a lot. He's playing at a much higher level than I anticipated thus far this season.

-Great play, of course, by Chris Maragos on the interception at the start of the second overtime. Fresno's quarterback, as noted earlier, had a lot of air under his throws all day, and it came back to hurt him there. Our defensive backs certainly struggled, but also made a few huge plays that they can hopefully build on.

-At one point it seemed like Johnny Clay's long touchdown run was going to be the story of the day. And it still might be. Our running game was punchless to that point, and Clay gave it a jolt. It reminded me of the first time I saw him, in the 2005 state championship game, when he busted out several runs like that against Wisconsin Rapids. It didn't look like he was running that fast, but nobody caught him.

-Another solid performance for Scott Tolzien. He had another play where he hung in against the blitz and converted a third down. Most importantly: no interceptions. No Curt Phillips, which was the sensible strategy given how important every possession was.

-Really like what Nick Toon is doing this season, most of his catches seem to come in important situations, not just that touchdown catch in overtime.

-We didn't seem to blitz as much as last week, wonder why.

-Boy, I hope our offensive line is healthy for the start of Big Ten play. Good for Peter Konz for holding his own after Travis Frederick went down, though.

-I thought Fresno would go for two after scoring the touchdown in the first overtime. Pat Hill, after all, is an eccentric genius of a coach. Don't know if you've heard this before, but his motto is "Anyone, anytime, anywhere." It's unbelievable that this guy doesn't have a WAC title to his name.

-My favorite moment of the game had nothing to do with the outcome of a play. There was a pass play to the perimeter where one of our guys made a tackle, and Jay Valai came up and decleated a Fresno lineman. That was 5-9, 201-pound Jay Valai absolutely blowing up 6-2, 280-pound Joe Bernardi. The hit adds to Valai's rep as a big hitter, and Bernardi will be embarrassed when that replay is shown.

-Michigan State loses to Central Michigan at home, maybe that game isn't as imposing as it looked eight days ago.

It's too nice outside to stay on the computer any longer, will think about this some more later. Happy to be 2-0, can't take Wofford too lightly. Seriously.

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