Badgered Badgers Impressed With Tiger Defense

Comments from the Wisconsin football team are featured after the Badgers fell 28-14 to Auburn in the Music City Bowl.

Nashville, Tenn.--Wisconsin's players and coaches agree that the play of the Auburn defense, and the defensive front in particular, was a key to Auburn's 28-14 bowl victory over the Badgers.

Wisconsin offensive coordinator Brian White noted, "I will say their defensive front is as capable if not better than Ohio State. Their linebackers are a cut above. Dansby (Karlos Dansby) is a high first round draft pick. Their linebackers are elite football players."

Auburn came through with six quarterback sacks in the game before finally knocking out the starter, Jim Sorgi, late in the game on a sack by Dansby and Reggie Torbor. The Wisconsin senior noted that he was impressed with what he saw from the Tigers during his appearance at the Music City Bowl.

"I wish I could have finished the game with the team, but my arm is all right," Sorgi said. "At least I got to play one more game with the guys. I got popped a few times in the first quarter. My arm puffed up after the hit in the fourth quarter and they decided to take me out."

Commenting on the Auburn pass rush, Sorgi said, "With their speed, it seemed like they were all over the place. Even when I got out of the pocket, someone was behind me, taking me down.

"Playing Auburn was a challenge for us because they had the same type of season we had," Sorgi added. "It hurts, but I am happy with the season. If we had won the ones should have, we'd be 10-2."

The highlight of the day for the Wisconsin quarterback was a 12-yard touchdown pass to Lee Evans in the fourth quarter that tied the game at 14-14 with the help of a two-point conversion.

"That was a pretty spectacular catch," offensive coordinator White said." It was as good as it gets. It's too bad that catch couldn't be celebrated in victory."

Wisconsin head coach Barry Alvarez said he was impressed with the Tiger unit that held his team to 261 net yards. "They have got a good defensive front," Alvarez said. "Jim did a pretty sound job when he had time. That's a very good defensive front--very athletic.

"We lost a hard fought football game to a very good Auburn team," Alvarez added. "I congratulate them. I thought they played well. They made big plays like the third and eight late in the game when we had field position and momentum. They made plays and answered when they had to. There were a lot momentum swings throughout the game, but that was obviously the best one. We had our chances, but we didn't take advantage of them. I thought it was a good football game."

Alvarez, who came into the game looking for his 100th career win at Wisconsin, had a 7-1 mark in bowl games before the setback at The Coliseum. He said the guys wearing navy blue on the defensive line had a lot to do with the loss.

"They have got a good defensive front and they were able to beat us consistently," Alvarez noted. "We didn't hold up for pass protection very well. I thought Jim did a pretty good job when he had time, but even under pressure he responded. That is a very good front. I thought we would block a little better than that, but I take my hat off to them. That is a very good pass rushing team."

Alvarez also had praise for Auburn junior quarterback Jason Campbell, who was named the game's MVP. "He made some plays throughout the game with a couple of flushes when we had the blitz and had pressure on him and we rubbed off," Alvarez said. "On the quarterback draw he made a first down on third and long in the red zone. He helped them answer.

"The biggest play was the third and eight when he connected and then turned right around the next play and made a nice throw and catch," Alvarez added. "That is what you look for in a quarterback--make plays to win the game. That is exactly what he did."

Tiger Ticket Extra: Comparing the Auburn defense to teams the Badgers had played earlier this season, Alvarez said, "I think it is similar to an Ohio State, Purdue or an Iowa front. They are very athletic and they put pressure on you. They can really eat you up with their linebackers if they want, but they are good enough to get pressure with four guys. I think they are very comparable to the better fronts we have in our league."


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