Holding on to beat one of the worst teams in the PAC-10 by one a home is not impressive.

QB: Scott Tolzien (16) looked sharpe.  There was actually some semblance of a passing offense as Wisconsin abandoned the run for a while (oddly as they were running pretty well) but they were still able to move the ball.  He wasn’t perfect – he led Kyle Jefferson into a hit.

GRADE: A  19 for 25 (76%) for 246 yards (a healthy 9.8 yards an attempt)

RB: John Clay (32) made some moves this game – fluid running that got him extra yards.  However no running backs broke any tackles.  Every time the first guy to touch a running back brought him down.  James White (20) made a handful moves too, but less.  Montee Ball (28) should be on the bench.  None of them are really threats in the passing game.

GRADE: B/B-  You could argue I am being a little harsh because of John Clay’s reputation when if he was a no name I would be more charitable.  I wonder a bit about myself, but you have to break tackles occasionally – was team from the defense free PAC-10 – plus that grade included everyone (Clay would have gotten at least a “B”).

WR:  With both starters out someone had to step up and that someone turned out to be Isaac Anderson (6).  He got open repeatedly and caught the ball well.  Jared Abbrederis (4) snagged a few as well – not bad for a walkon redshirt freshman.

GRADE: B/B+  They deserve credit for filling in as backups, but at the same time they were not super-spectacular

TE: Lance Kendricks (84) was the player of the game over Tolzien by a hair.  He got several big receptions when he got deep on the defense (I would say a defense break down, but that was at least three times in two games.  Had a hard catch for a TD.  He also caught a big thirddown conversion on the same delayed run against the grain play he scored on last week (see Play of the Game vs San Jose).


Offensive Line: Josh Oglesby (67) played after getting hurt last week.  And got hurt again.  However the line control the line of scrimmage most of the time both running and passing.


Special teams:  Horrific, game up a kickoff return for TD, a punt returned for a TD that they were lucky to have it called back, another kick return to the one that did not turn into points only because it was the last play of the half, gave up another 25 yard punt return, and missed a makeable field goal.

GRADE: D  Not an F only because they blocked a PAT in a one point victory and covered a punt on the one.

Defensive Line: They stopped the run – but ASU is a poor running team and broke a few – and got a little pressure here and there, but ASU was able to pass for a bunch of yards and that was in part due to a lack of pressure.  Plus some of that pressure came when they had bad snaps.  Louis Nzegwu (93) made some good tackles against the run in the hole.


Linebackers: They helped stop the run, but did not do much against the pass.  They made no noticeable big plays.

GRADE: C  Hey, a C is average – they were average.

Secondary:  Got absolutely lit up.  They were lucky ASU is not better than they were because there were several times receivers were running free through the secondary but the pass was off target.  They also got two no-calls that should have been pass interference – including an egregious one in the endzone that had it been called correctly might have led to ASU winning.

GRADE: F  ASU completed 64% of their passes.

Coaching:  There were no real big decisions in this game, but when a team plays this poorly you look at the coaching staff.


Play of the game:  I could say Jay Valai (2) for blocking the PAT, but instead I will give it to Shelton Johnson (24) for not giving up on the kick return and tackling the kick returner at the one which combining with the clock running out saved a touchdown.

Fans: They are still annoying.  In fact they are so annoying I having difficulties rooting for the Badgers.  I don’t dislike the team, but the fans are so oblivious to the game is it annoying and makes me want them to be disappointed.  New crowd features: They put their hands in a safety position (the football signal) and rub them when they pin the team deep on a punt.  I like that.  I still like the wave pattern they do – although this game they did it during the game.  It is long, wait for a TV timeout.  Also it also means they only do the wave once a game (it seems to start the same place every time).  How could they do it more than once, they are too busy with their other mind-numbing activities?  I also somewhat enjoyed when the entire student section pointed with a first down motion at ASU fans in their midst and chanted “asshole.”  They also chant U-S-A!! after the national anthem (they did it last week too, but I thought that was because it was Sept. 11).   Late in the game when the Badgers needed to burn the clock to hold on they were watching the mascots have some weird fight skit.  They also shouted “you fucked up” when an ASU kick return came up a yard short as the half ended which was just moronic – the Badgers were just the ones making a bad play.

Football 101: Have three this week:

1) When a quarterback leads a receiver into a hit he throws the ball in front a receiver (he is running in that direction) so it leads the receiver to a place a defender can deliver a big hit.  It he throws high so a receiver jumps and the hit is worse that is “exposing a receiver.”  Ideally you do want to lead a receiver so he catches the ball while running and can immediately run for more yards without having to slow down or change direction (this is called hitting a “receiver in stride”), but not if that means they might get hurt.  You are better off throwing low so they will naturally get low before the hit.

2) When a receiver is “running free” it means the defense has broken down and the receiver is running alone with no defender anywhere near him to prevent him from catching the ball.  This is bad.

3) Burning the clock is when you are winning late the game and want to keep the ball so the other team doesn’t have a chance to get the ball back and score.  So you run the ball (as incomplete passes stop the clock) and snap the ball as late as possible (teams have 40 seconds to start the next play before there is a penalty) so if you are stopped there is a little time as possible left for the other team.

Bottomline: This is not a good team – they might lose before OSU even gets here.  Can they go into East Lansing and win?