It is an ugly job, but someone has to do it

After blocking for plenty of running touchdowns, Bradie Ewing scored twice Saturday, including the Badgers first score of the game.

MADISON — Almost nine minutes into the second quarter of Wisconsin's game against Austin Peay, the score was already an out-of-hand 35-3. Versus the FCS Governors, the point totals shouldn't have surprised anyone. The real eyebrow-raiser at that point was the fact UW's Heisman candidate running back John Clay had yet to score.

The Badgers' first touchdown came on a fullback dive play, with Bradie Ewing going in for the score.

"It was awesome, just to be able to score some points to help the team win the game, it was awesome," Ewing said. "The fullback doesn't usually get all the glory, but as long as we're winning, I'm happy with it."

Freshman running back James White would score his first career touchdown as a Badger on UW's next drive, an 18-yard scamper to put Wisconsin up 14-0.

White would add a highlight-reel 66-yard scoring run on a toss play, where he found the left edge and raced up the sideline untouched, aside from a last-ditch effort by a Governor to dive at his ankles.

"As soon as I got the ball, it was just Brady, our fullback, and the corner out there. As soon as he cut him, it was just me and the open field and I had to run away with it," White said "I felt somebody coming, I got a little slow toward the end. He dove at my feet and I felt him miss and I was like, ‘Thank goodness.'"

Ewing would get his second touchdown of the day on an easy 3-yard pass from Tolzien. The senior quarterback's best pass of the day might have been his 10-yard pass to redshirt freshman Jacob Pedersen at the end of the second quarter.

Tolzien went through his reads as the pocket was collapsing on him before he floated one to the back of the end zone over the head of AP strong safety Jeremy Ross.

All in all, six Badgers scored touchdowns for Wisconsin, as Clay scored to put UW up 42-3 in the second quarter and sophomore running back Montee Ball closed out the scoring with a 10-yard run in the fourth quarter.

Garner gets in

Freshman receiver Manasseh Garner made his collegiate debut against Austin Peay – but it might not have played out as he imagined.

While he got into the game at receiver in the second half of the blowout, his first snaps came on the other side of the ball, a scenario he never would have envisioned.

"Not at all, not in 1,000 years. Coach came up to me, was just like, ‘How would you feel to go in there and step in on defense and help out a little bit?'" Garner said. "I didn't think twice, that's something that's natural to me, I got recruited to play defense as well as offense. For me, it's just a natural thing."

After the team decided to shut down star linebacker Chris Borland for the season due to shoulder problems, the Badgers had not one, but two holes to fill. Not only did Borland start at outside linebacker, but he was the key component in Wisconsin's 3-3-5 "Badger" package. Defensive coordinator Dave Doeren likes to use it on third down to rush the passer, and Borland was a key part of that formula. The Badgers in turn, looked to athletic defensive end David Gilbert as a possible solution, but the coaching staff wasn't afraid to think outside of the box as far as inserting personnel.

"When Chris went down, we basically tried to think of guys defensively who might be able to give us some pass rush, who aren't currently out there," head coach Bret Bielema said. "I just threw it out there because Manasseh, we've seen do things on film in high school film. He's so athletic."

So Garner, who played a hybrid safety/linebacker position in high school, was inserted on a number of third down plays. The stat sheet might not say he contributed, the team is adamant it will be a group effort to replace Borland's production.

By the second half, Garner was getting some regular snaps at receiver, but didn't register a catch.

Special teams better, but not quite perfect

After getting torched for 261 yards on kickoff returns against Arizona State last week, the Badgers held the Governors to 141 yards on 11 kick returns.

While there was improvement in the kick coverage, freshman receiver Jared Abbrederis had some difficulty in the punt return game, mishandling two catches for fumbles. Both were recovered by Abbrederis, but by the third quarter, safety Aaron Henry was tabbed to return punts.

"One of them, I didn't make a decision fast enough to get up there and catch it. I had to run up really far, I should have made a quicker decision there," Abbrederis said. "The other one, I just relaxed. No excuses, I've got to go out there and I've just got to keep practice on catching them and get more experience with that."

The walk-on receiver finished the game with five returns for 45 yards, including a nice 25-yard return.

Henry has been chomping at the bit for a while now to get some work in the return game.

"Oh my gosh, I've been begging for punt returns since I got here," Henry said. "Coach B, he definitely told me he was going to give me an opportunity and he gave me an opportunity today."

The junior's first return went for 30 yards up the middle, which he hopes will elevate him in the depth chart on returns.

"I think I showcased a little bit, but man, I thought I was going to break that one, I really thought I was going to break it," he said.

Extra points

Redshirt junior quarterback Nate Tice made it into the game, handing the ball off three times on the Badgers' last possession.

Backup kicker Alec Lerner also got play time, kicking an extra point and handling three kickoffs for an average of 54.7 yards.


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