Notes: Line Forced to Shift

Wisconsin had to go to its offensive line contingency plan after only four plays, as Dan Voltz's re-aggregating his ankle injury was just another problem the Badgers had to deal with in their 59-0 loss to Ohio State.

INDIANAPOLIS - Sophomore center Dan Voltz’s ankle lasted four plays for the University of Wisconsin.

Battling an injured left ankle throughout the week, Voltz tweaked his injured left ankle following an eight-yard carry by Melvin Gordon with 9:08 remaining in the first quarter, spending the rest of Wisconsin’s 59-0 defeat against No.6 Ohio State on the sidelines.

“You want to talk about a kid who did everything he could possibly do to get out there and be able to play,” said UW coach Gary Andersen. “I told him at halftime I just appreciate him giving the effort to his team and the University of Wisconsin to even go out there and do that. Maybe 95-plus percent of the kids wouldn’t do that. They wouldn’t even try.”

Voltz had hoped to play after injuring his left ankle in the second half of Wisconsin’s 34-24 victory over Minnesota last weekend, being held out of practices Tuesday and Wednesday and going through practice Thursday with his ankle heavily taped.

Making his 13th start of the season, Voltz didn’t appear to have any problems on UW’s first series (a three-and-out) but crumbled to the turf on the first play of UW’s second drive. He walked off the field on his own power, deemed to have re-tweaked his ankle.

That move caused senior Dallas Lewallen to move to center, where he started seven games last season, and insert junior Ray Ball into the lineup at left guard.

“We practices that all week, we knew he was going to be questionable and obviously something bad happened there in the beginning,” left tackle Tyler Marz said. “Dallas played center before, so it was a pretty smooth transition.”

Marz couldn’t pinpoint where the breakdowns occurred on the line, whether they were scheme problems or technique breakdowns. The only bright spot was Wisconsin didn’t have to pull the redshirt off freshman Michael Deiter, who was UW’s last option.

Gordon struggles

Melvin Gordon came into the game with a tall order to try and win the Heisman Trophy, needing a performance nothing short of brilliant to put him in a dead heat with Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.

The brilliance was not present like it had been in the Badgers’ previous 12 games. Gordon grinded out 76 yards on 26 carries, a meager three yards per carry average – well below his season 8.0 average coming into Saturday’s game.

As a team, Wisconsin ran for just 71 yards on 37 carries.

“We just could make any explosive plays up front,” Gordon said. “They really got to us with the blitzes and everything, we just couldn’t get things rolling.”

Ohio State was prepared to shut down the run from the get-go. Wisconsin’s offensive plan was to get it to the conference’s offensive player of the year early and often using power formations and bringing him in motion with jet-sweeps and shotgun runs. But the Buckeyes rarely had to break out of their base defense to stop Gordon.

“This is not Wisconsin football,” Gordon said. “This is not how we play. It’s tough. Since I’ve been at Wisconsin we’ve never lost by that much.”

Gordon couldn’t break loose on his patented 20+ yard carries at all in the game, his longest carry went for 13 yards.

“It won’t change it, but it’s a day I’ll never forget,” Gordon said of how the loss affected his thoughts of this season.

Zagzebski suffers knee injury

As if the blowout wasn’t enough, senior Konrad Zagzebski is done for the year after leaving with an apparent knee injury, according to Andersen.

”It’s horrible,” Andersen said. “I guess if there’s a bright side, he got to play a lot of games this year and had a tremendous year. Zags had a great year. He was going to have an opportunity to play in the all-star game down the road. But any time you see a kid go down in a championship game – or any game throughout the year – those are hard pills to swallow. I know Zags well, and he’ll bounce back whatever that injury is.”

Andersen didn’t know the extent of the injury, but he said he will not be available to play in Wisconsin’s bowl game.

Extra Points: Wide receiver Kenzel Doe had a season-high 114 yards on six kick returns. It is his third career 100+ yard kick return game … Wisconsin’s block of a 29-yard field goal attempt by Ohio State in the fourth quarter was its first of the season. Defensive end Jake Keefer recorded his first career blocked kick…Wisconsin had a season-best three fourth-down conversions (3-of-5).

Erik Lewis contributed to this report


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