"(Frye) is a fierce competitor," Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez said. "I said going in, I knew he was an accurate thrower."
In the first half, Wisconsin's defensive line and linebackers were all over Frye, putting considerable pressure on the star quarterback. Despite Akron's persistent use of quick-rhythm passes, roll outs and sprint outs, Frye rarely dropped back without facing a fierce pass rush, frequently taking hits after he threw and taking three sacks.
Wisconsin's defensive line, particularly end Jonathan Welsh and tackle Anttaj Hawthorne, controlled the line of scrimmage, blowing offensive linemen into the backfield and obscuring Frye's passing lanes.
Frye, though, still had a respectable first half, and it could very well have been exceptional. Frye completed 12 of 24 passes for 130 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the first half. However, the interception came on a pass that was deflected by Akron receiver Morris Ellington, who should have caught the pass. In addition, a touchdown pass to Matt Cherry was taken away by a holding penalty, and Cherry dropped another touchdown pass late in the first half.
The second half was a different story entirely. Wisconsin rotated six players along the defensively line Saturday—starters ends Welsh and Nick Cochart and tackles Hawthorne and Jason Jefferson, reserve end Joe Monty and Lewis, who played rush end in Wisconsin's nickel defense. As Frye quickly pushed towards 50 pass attempts and above, the Badgers defensive pressure subsided, Frye gained more time to settle and throw, and the comeback began.
Frye completed 19 of 25 passes for 242 yards in the second half and led the Zips to three touchdown drives.
In end, the Akron gunslinger came up short, his defense unable to give him any really chance to win Saturday. With the score 34-31, Akron had the ball at the one-yard line but running back Bobby Hendry was stuffed by Wisconsin safety Ryan Aiello and linebacker Jeff Mack. The Badgers scored one play later, and Jim Leonhard picked off Frye on Akron's next possession.
In defeat, Frye finished 31 of 49 for 372 yards, one touchdown passing and one touchdown running.
"He is a good quarterback," Wisconsin safety Ryan Aiello said. "We knew that going into the game. He is going to have a good season and I wish him the best."