October 27, 2008

Series by series: UW defense against Illinois

MADISON, Wis. - Defensively, the Wisconsin football team has had its fair share of troubles this season. During the four game losing streak, the unit was not able to get off the field in a regular manner and clutch turnovers were nowhere to be seen. However, on Saturday, that changed as the defense bottled up Juice Williams and set up the offense for success in the teams 27-17 win.

The following is a look back at the defensive series from Saturday's game:

First quarter


Defensive series No. 1: Started on Wisconsin 44 yard line following Dustin Sherer fumble.
Plays: 4
Yards given up: 16
Result: Chris Maragos interception.

Best play: In a sign of things to come, Williams was forced from the pocket and threw too high for his intended target. Maragos was waiting for the floater and intercepted it and returned it 51 yards to set up the offense's first score.

Defensive series No. 2: Started on Illinois 11 yard line following kickoff. (3-0 Wisconsin)
Plays: 4
Yards: 15
Result: 50-yard Anthony Santella punt.

Best play: Williams dumped the pass off to Jason Ford on second and 14, but Niles Brinkley and Jason Chapman quickly brought him down to set up third and long.

Defensive series No. 3: Started on Illinois eight yard line following Brad Nortman punt.
Plays: 11
Yards: 92
Result: Touchdown. (7-3 Illinois)

Worst play: Coming into the game the UW corner's knew Williams' favorite target was Arrelious Benn. For the most part, the Badger secondary held him in check. However, Benn had a big play on this particular drive.

Facing third and five, Williams found Benn in the middle of the field. Benn made the catch and turned up field for a 37-yard gain. Three plays later, the Illini scored the go ahead touchdown.

Second quarter:

Defensive series No. 4: Started on Illinois 20 yard line following Nortman punt.
Plays: 3
Yards given up: 6
Result: Santella punt.

Best play: On third and two, Williams tried picking up the first down on the ground, but DeAndre Levy and O'Brien Schofield got to him in the backfield for a two-yard loss.

Defensive series No. 5: Started on Illinois four yard line following Nortman punt.
Plays: 3
Yards given up: 6
Result: Santella punt.

Best play: Looking to get out terrible field position, Williams broke from the pocket and seemed to have a chance at the first down. But both Mike Newkirk and Jaevery McFadden got to him well shy of the mark setting up third and four.

Defensive series No. 6: Started on Wisconsin 28 yard line following Benn kickoff return. (10-7 Wisconsin)
Plays: 4
Yards given up: -2
Result: 47-yard Matt Eller field goal. (10-10)

Recap: Illinois had two penalties on this drive that hampered their ability to move the ball. However, the defense did pressure Williams into rushing his throws, thus forcing the Illini to settle for the field goal.

Defensive series No. 7: Started on Illinois 10 yard line following Nortman punt.
Plays: 1
Yards given up: -1
Result: End of half

Recap: Illinois just took a knee and heading into the locker room tied.

Third quarter:

Defensive series No. 8: Started on Illinois 30 yard line following second half kickoff.
Plays: 8
Yards given up: 70
Result: Touchdown. (17-10 Illinois)

Worst play: UW was on the edge of holding the Illini to a field goal when they had them in a third and nine situation. However, Williams found a wide-open A.J. Jenkins for a 14-yard touchdown pitch and catch. It looked as though UW safety Aubrey Pleasant blew his assignment and did not cover the deep flat.

Defensive series No. 9: Started on Illinois 33 yard line following kickoff. (17-17)
Plays: 2
Yards: -1
Result: Allen Langford interception.


Best play: Williams tried stretching the defense, but Langford continued his superb senior season with the easy interception. The play was doomed for Illinois either was as the intended receiver had gone out of bounds unforced and would have been flagged if he caught the ball. Instead, Langford eyed the pass the entire time and made the over-the-shoulder catch.

Defensive series No. 10: Started at Wisconsin 47 yard line following Nortman punt.
Plays: 5
Yards given up: 9
Result: Santella punt

Best play: Levy came free on a blitz and took Williams down on first and ten to set up a long second down scenario that Illinois was unable to come back from.

Fourth quarter:

Defensive series No. 11: Started at Wisconsin 47 yard line following Nortman punt.
Plays: 4
Yards given up: 18
Result: Niles Brinkley interception.

Best play: It was the first play of the final quarter when Williams threw a pass into a tightly covered receiver. The receiver bobbled the pass and Brinkley intercepted it and returned it 47 yards to set up the UW go-ahead score.

Defensive series No. 12: Started on Illinois 32 yard line following kickoff. (20-17 Wisconsin)
Plays: 6
Yards given up: 17
Result: Santella punt.

Best play: After the offense gave the team the lead, the Badger defense stiffened. On third and nine, McFadden came off the edge and was bearing down on Williams. He did not get the sack, but he batted the pass that served the same purpose.

Defensive series No. 13: Started on Illinois 28 yard line following kickoff. (27-17 Wisconsin)
Plays: 8
Yards given up: 39
Result:Turnover on downs.

Best play: The Badgers sealed their first win in over a month when Williams' pass to Benn went awry on fourth and six in Badger territory.

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