Wisconsin survives

The Badgers faced down a stiff second half challenge from the Akron Zips to record their second victory by a 48-31 margin.

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The first half it was the Anthony Davis show, the second half the Charlie Frye show, but in the end Lee Evans stole the show.


The Akron Zips (0-2) pulled within three points of the Wisconsin Badgers (2-0) 34-31, and seemed poised to take a fourth quarter lead on a fourth and goal from the one. The Badger defense held when the desperate leap by Zip running back Bobby Hendry failed. The defensive stop and an awakening of the Badger offense with a 99-yard touchdown pass to Lee Evans on the ensuing play sent the Badgers on a roll to a 48-31 non-conference win at Camp Randall.


It was the Anthony Davis show in the first half, 16 carries for 149 yards and three touchdowns. Davis added 98 yards in the second half and moved into third place on the Wisconsin all-time rushing chart, surpassing Alan Ameche, Terrell Fletcher, and Brent Moss.


It didn't' look like things were going the Badgers way early as Matt Bernstein fumbled the opening kick-off return. The Zips converted it to their only lead of the game, 3-0 on Jason Swiger field goal.


But, then Anthony Davis got in gear. Davis picked up 42 yards on three straight carries and then Lee Evans picked up 13 yards on a pass. Davis then rushed 10 yards for his first touchdown of the game and a 7-3 Wisconsin lead.


The Zips came back with a drive from their own 20-yard line to the Wisconsin 38. A touchdown pass and an Akron lead were nullified by a holding penalty and the Zips were forced to punt two plays later.


            Davis's other two touchdowns came in the waning seconds of the first and second quarters. With 1:45 showing on the first quarter clock, Davis rushed for his second touchdown, a 20-yard run, and a 14-3 Akron lead. With 1:25 to go in the half Davis picked up a 14-yard touchdown run. In between these two touchdowns Lee Evans had his first touchdown reception of the game, a six-yard play.


            With a 31-10 halftime lead it seemed as though fans at Camp Randall could sit back and relax as the Badgers rolled up the win on the Midwest Conference opponent.


            The Zip quarterback had other ideas and it was time for the Charlie Frye show. On the strength of his passing (372 yards in the game), the Akron quarterback engineered three straight scoring drives and pulled his team to within three with 11:13 left in the game.  Frye's arm was a powerful weapon and on the fourth Zip drive he took his team to the Wisconsin one-yard line. With 6:42 on the fourth quarter clock, the Zips had a chance to go ahead.


            The Badger defense held Hendry and momentum switched to the Badgers.


            On the next play, Badger quarterback Jim Sorgi stood in the end zone and wide receiver Lee Evans split right. The senior receiver took the pass out near his own 40-yard line, beat the man-to-man coverage, and ran it 99 yards down the right side for the longest touchdown reception in Badger history and tied for the longest in Big Ten history. The conversion by Scott Campbell put the Badgers up by 10, 41-31.


Evans touchdown pass gave Wisconsin, for the first time in school history, a pass receiver (Evans, 9 receptions for 214 yards) and a rusher (Davis 29 carries for 247 yards) surpassing 200 yards each in one game. With 6:26 showing on the game clock, Wisconsin led 41-31.


            The momentum stayed with the red and white as Jim Leonhard made a key defensive play on Akron's next series. The junior defensive back intercepted a Frye pass on the Wisconsin four-yard line. Leonhard first interception of the year, and 12th of his career moved him into a fifth place tie with Mike Echols on the career interceptions list.


The turnover translated into points. The Badgers rode the legs of Davis to the Akron 34 as he rushed three times for 72 yards. Dwayne Smith took the ball 34 yards for the final Badger touchdown and the 48-31 win.

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