MADISON – Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst said keeping teams off the scoreboard and out of the end zone isn’t an easy thing to do at the Division 1 level. It’s ironic because his defense continues to make things look easy as they roll through the nonconference schedule at Camp Randall Stadium.
For the third straight week, Wisconsin didn’t allow a touchdown and limited Hawaii’s prime scoring chances in a stingy 28-0 victory over the Rainbow Warriors Saturday.
“It means something,” said senior safety Tanner McEvoy. “It’s nice to have that statistic, but we have some good teams and we have to be able to keep that going. I think we have a great defense, we just have to keep their offense off the field.”
Once known as an offense that liked to sling 50 passes a game, Hawaii has changed its game plan to a more balanced offense under Norm Chow. But playing a Wisconsin defense that has only allowed three points in the last three games, Hawaii was eventually forced to be predictable.
One of the main reasons for that is because of the run-stopping effort of senior outside linebacker Joe Schobert, who finished with three tackles and two sacks in the defense’s shutout effort. Through four games, he has accrued 28 total tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, six sacks and four quarterback hurries.
“Everybody in Division-1 football is playing for a reason,” said Schobert. “There are a lot of talented guys. To hold a Division 1 team to no points through four quarters, no matter what week it is, is an accomplishment.”
Hawaii tried to get the running game going early but found no gaps in Wisconsin’s front seven. The Rainbow Warriors finished with 18 carries for 15 yards, forcing them to air out the football. Senior quarterback Max Wittek threw for 189 yards on 15-of-32 attempts, but was made uncomfortable early and often from the UW pressure.
The Badgers have not allowed a 6-point score over the last 188:02 of game time—a period that stretches 12-consecutive quarters. The Badgers last allowed a touchdown at the 8:02 mark of the fourth quarter against Alabama.
McEvoy Avoids Targeting Ejection
After seeing starters Leon Jacobs and Derrick Tindal ejections on targeting penalties in the win over Troy, McEvoy narrowly avoided notching another for the Badgers defense in the second half. McEvoy was originally flagged for an illegal hit on Wittek as he attempted to catch a pass on a receiver pass.
“That one I didn’t think he was even close,” Schobert said. “Watching the replay, I saw his head snap back a bit, so maybe the ref had a bad angle on that. But as soon as I saw the replay I knew that he hit him with his shoulder right in the chest that it would be reversed.”
Schobert’s analysis was correct, as official review ruled McEvoy’s hit was legal, nullifying the penalty and an ejection that would have caused him to sit for the first half of the Iowa game. Instead of having a first-and-goal inside Wisconsin’s 10, Hawaii’s became stuck in neutral, eventually missing a field goal attempt.
As irony would have it, Hawaii lost one of its special teams players for targeting in the third quarter on a kickoff return.
“They called targeting on them, which I though was a late hit,” Hawaii head coach Norm Chow said. “But if you call targeting, then it’s either all or nothing. If you call a late hit, it could still have been a penalty. But they called targeting, so it’s either you get ejected like we did, or the penalty is nothing. I thought it was a late hit to begin with.”
Ingold Makes Debut
A week ago, freshman Alec Ingold was still locked in to the defense’s playbook. Because of injuries – mainly junior Corey Clement being out at least the next month - and other position switches, Ingold made his collegiate debut as Wisconsin’s third-string tailback. He turned in an impressive performance in the fourth quarter, carrying the ball seven times for 60 yards.
“I thought Alec came in and did some good things,” said head coach Paul Chryst, “which means there’s a lot of good things happening in front.”
Carrying the ball is nothing new for Ingold, who was a quarterback that ran the ball frequently at Green Bay Bay Port High School. Ingold’s 26-yard run in the fourth quarter was Wisconsin’s longest of the game.
EXTRA POINTS: True freshman Chris Orr made his first career start at inside linebacker and finished with four tackles … Jacobs left in the first half with a right foot injury, the same foot where he broke his big toe in fall camp. Chryst couldn’t give a definitive update as to the severity of the injury … The last time Wisconsin held three straight opponents to three points or less was 1937. The Badgers opened the season with three straight shutouts against South Dakota State, Marquette and Chicago … Junior TE Eric Steffes converted his first-career catch—a 19-yard grab in the fourth quarter.