Saturday, November 7, 2009

UW-Indiana thoughts

What else can you think about this but, "Whew"? Glad we won, but that was far from the dominant four-quarter effort we should have shown against an inferior opponent in front of a crowd smaller than one you'd see at a Texas high school game.

First, give Indiana credit. They did some nice things in the passing game. Their defense got better in the second half, although it got better when our all-conference running back went to the sideline.

But we made enough plays to win on the road. Can't be too upset about that.

-Offensive MVP? How about Nick Toon. He had five catches for 123 yards, and his last two were huge. The long one set up Montee Ball's second touchdown run. The last one came on third down on a poorly-thrown ball by Scott Tolzien. If Toon doesn't make that catch, Indiana gets the ball back with a ton of momentum. Great game by Nick.

-Defensive MVP? Chris Borland is obviously top of mind; his pick in the third quarter thwarted a nice Indiana drive. But that play was made posibble by O'Brien Schofield, who hit Ben Chappell as he was throwing. Borland's stat line may be more robust, but OB came up with big plays at crucial times. What a year.

-That said, on the whole our pass rush was lackluster on the day, which is probably why our pass defense was the worst it has been since the Fresno State game. Then again, Indiana put up 24 points at Iowa, far better than we fared against that defense, as well as 28 at Northwestern and 33 at Michigan. So the Hoosiers' offense isn't bad.

-Not listening to the radio broadcast, but haven't heard yet why John Clay didn't play in the second half. He was on the sideline walking around, looked to be mentally with it. Our running game was obviously less effective with him out, but Ball played well in his first extended action -- 115 yards, two touchdowns, good ball security. We need Clay to beat good teams, though.

-Clay's status is obviously of primary concern, but I'm also worried about Josh Oglesby. When he walked off the field after holding his knee, I was optimistic, but he didn't return. He's had a good year, and Jake Bscherer, while probably not a terrible liability, isn't the force in the ground game that Oglesby is.

-I'd give Tolzien a C for his play today. Against a pass defense that bad, 194 yards isn't that hot. If his receivers hang on to those two well-thrown balls that they dropped, his numbers are significantly better. And he didn't take any sacks. Bottom line: he didn't do anything to lose the game for the Badgers, which was just what we needed today.

So Iowa loses to Northwestern, Michigan loses again, at home to the team we beat 37-0 last week. We'll see what it all means for Wisconsin after the Penn State-Ohio State game tonight. A top-flight bowl game remains a possibility.

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