"This is the best win I have ever experienced," the fifth-year senior and captain said. "It is really something special. And it took everybody. You could really see that, everybody had a game, everybody stepped up and it doesn't happen a lot. I will never forget this."
Moffitt is exactly right; it took everybody. Picking the top seven players proved the toughest yet after the Badgers best game of the season. Still, a list was compiled eventually.
As usual, the rankings are determined based on performance, expectations and need — a wonderfully vague definition of valuable to justify just about any selection.
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Last week's rankings in parentheses
1. J.J. Watt, DE (1) — Who else? It would take a superhuman effort from someone else on the team to knock Watt off his throne. He took down Terrelle Pryor two times for a sack, added another tackle for a loss and brought pressure all night.
2. Gabe Carimi, LT (6) — With NFL scouts looking on, Carimi put together his best performance of the season. Matched up against OSU's Cameron Heyward for much of the game, Carimi completely neutralized the best player on the Buckeyes 'D', with Heyward finishing the game with a non-descript four tackles. The Buckeyes pass rush didn't manage a sack all night and Ohio State picked up just two tackles for a loss on the game. The challenge doesn't get any easier this week with Adrian Clayborn lining up across from Carimi.
3. James White, RB (2) — Even against one of the Big Ten's top two defenses, White still managed to make jaws drop. The juke and cut he pulled on his 12-yard touchdown run was nothing short of spectacular. It was a much more workmanlike performance for White then he was used to, but he hung tough taking 17 carries for 75 yards with out being stopped for negative yardage on any one play.
4. John Clay, RB (7) — Finally. Clay ran with power as he did last season en route to winning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year awards instead of dancing infuriatingly behind the line. When he cut, it was all north-and-south from there on out, often getting to the second level against the Buckeyes before delivering a vicious blow to end the run. More of the same, big fella. More of the same.
5. Blake Sorensen, LB (NR) — In Bielema's best win as a Badger, Sorensen played his best game with a Wisconsin uniform on. The senior was everywhere on the field. He stopped Pryor in the open field to force a field goal on one possession and his interception sealed the win at the end. He led UW in tackles with 10, picked up a tackle for a loss and was on the field for nearly every down. With Mike Taylor going down with an injury, Sorensen replaced him in the 3-3-5 Badger defense as Pryor struggled to 156 yards on 50 percent passing.
6. Nick Toon, WR (NR) — Toon called for the ball several weeks ago and Saturday he delivered. Targeted on slip and bubble screens four times Toon picked up crucial yardage on first and second down to keep third downs manageable. He picked up another 20 yards on the final touchdown drive of the game to convert on third down and keep the drive alive. Chants of 'Toooooon' should be heard more often.
7. Scott Tolzien, QB (4) — Tolzien had several defining moments in the win. The strike to Toon in the fourth quarter TD drive and the play-action pass to tight end Jacob Pedersen were two of the high points. The interception — a forced telegraph over the middle — was not one. He finished the game 13-of-16, however, numbers that bode well for Iowa.