Grades: Offense fails … yet again

first_imgUW\’s John Clay was cruising in the first quarter before suffering a derailing injury in the second.[/media-credit]Every week, Herald Sports takes a look back at the Wisconsin football game and grade the position groups on a scale of zero to five.Here is how the Badgers fared in week seven against unbeaten Iowa:Quarterback — 0.5 of 5Continuing his downward spiral since Big Ten play started, junior quarterback Scott Tolzien tossed three interceptions in his worst game of the season as the offense managed only 10 points against a stiff Iowa defense. Unlike at Ohio State where Tolzien played relatively well besides the two pick-sixes, the Hawkeye corners were able to hold Tolzien to 15-of-25 passing, a measly 143 yards and no touchdowns. For both of his first two interceptions, Tolzien abandoned the patience that helped him succeed earlier in the season and forced it instead to his first read on the play. UW was unable to manage any offense in the second half — moving only 66 yards after scoring its final touchdown — and the poor energy could reflect on Tolzien’s leadership.Running Backs — 1.5 of 5Sophomore John Clay was nothing short of a beast in the first quarter, totaling 58 yards on the ground. After suffering a scary injury early in the second quarter, though, the Badger ground game disappeared, finishing with just 96 yards between Clay and freshman Montee Ball. Clay ran tentatively during the second half and his lack of production led to several three-and-outs. The lack of a running attack put Tolzien and the offense in tough third-down conversion situations.Wide Receivers — 1.5 of 5Talk about a nonexistent game. Between Nick Toon, Isaac Anderson and Kyle Jefferson, the Badgers failed to reach even double digits in receptions, finishing with just eight catches. Maurice Moore dropped a touchdown running through the end zone, though Ball eventually scored on that drive. On David Gilreath’s one end-around, he hesitated and got creamed for it. Between Tolzien and the wideouts, it was the worst passing showing of the year for UW.Tight Ends — IncompleteIn a game hailed as a battle between the top two tight ends in the league with UW’s Garrett Graham and Iowa’s Tony Moeaki, the showdown was halted when Graham left the game with a concussion, robbing the Badgers of their best receiver and a dominant run blocker. Who knows what affect Graham could have had on the stagnant offense in the second half. With Kendricks only coming through for two catches and 10 yards, Wisconsin will badly miss Graham next season.Offensive Line — 2 of 5If grading the line for the first half, they would receive a 5. In the second half, not so much. Coming out strong after being embarrassed by Ohio State, UW controlled an impressive front seven for 30 minutes of the game. Much of the running game struggles can be blamed on Clay for running softly after his injury. Iowa was able to pressure Tolzien into four sacks, however, and their pass protection problems continued with only 29 drop backs.Defensive Line — 4 of 5O’Brien Schofield continues to be virtually unblockable, adding two tackles for a loss to his NCAA-leading total of 16.5. On the other side of the line, J.J. Watt recorded eight tackles, including a team-high four for a loss. Watt also jumped offsides on a critical third down, however, contributing to the lousy 5-of-9 conversion stat in the second half. As a team, Iowa finished the game with a low 65 yards rushing.Linebackers — 3.5 of 5While losing Mike Taylor to a knee injury may prove to be a serious blow in the long-run, true freshman sensation Chris Borland made the loss of the team’s leading tackler hardly noticeable. Borland finished the game with a team-high 10 tackles, including 2.5 for a loss and a forced fumble that was the Badgers only turnover. Although Borland showed his youth on a couple plays, his aggressiveness and quickness is remarkable for a freshman.Secondary — 2 of 5Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi completed 17-of-23 passes, including several impressive third-down completions. The UW secondary seemed a bit late on every play, and Stanzi made them pay. Junior wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos had a career day, pulling in eight passes for 113 yards. Although sophomore Devin Smith got home for one sack, he missed a second opportunity for another, allowing Stanzi to escape and find Moeaki for a touchdown. Stanzi has thrown eight interceptions this year, but the Badgers didn’t get their hands on even one pass.Specialists — 0.5 of 5There is nothing to do but hold your breath when Phillip Welch is kicking. Connecting from 34 yards in the first half, Welch missed a 38-yarder with disastrous consequences. Coming off the miss, Iowa drove the length of the field easily on Wisconsin and scored a touchdown to put them ahead. Although defensive players denied it afterward, there appeared to be a let down of energy from the miss. Brad Nortmann was very average, missing on opportunities to pin the Hawkeyes inside the 20 and getting poor hang time on his punts.last_img

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