Grading Out

The report card from Wisconsin's 30-23 victory over Penn State

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Jim Sorgi was five-for-six for 93 yards on Wisconsin's two first half touchdown drives, each of which culminated in a Sorgi touchdown pass. The signal-caller, though, misfired on nine pass attempts in between those two drives in the first half and was erratic for much of the second half. Sorgi's accuracy continues to need improvement but he did throw the two touchdown passes and, most importantly, did not turn the ball over. Wisconsin's offense, though, needs a more consistent passing game.


Penn State game grade: C


Season-to-date GPA: 2.58


Running backs


Another game, another off-the-bench performance for Booker Stanley. The Wisconsin redshirt freshman picked up 119 yards on 24 carries, all in the second half, Saturday. He ran with power and demonstrated solid vision and impressive durability. Dwayne Smith and Anthony Davis had some nice runs before leaving the game with injured ankles, though Davis did fumble on his first carry Saturday and Smith missed a block that resulted in one of Penn State's two sacks. Matt Bernstein has developed into a nice change-of-pace on inside runs. Wisconsin will not be caught feeding the fullback running attempts, but Bernstein has proven quite capable in spot duty and his blocking continues earn plaudits.


Penn State game grade: AB


Season-to-date GPA: 3.33




This corps did not have many opportunities to make plays, but they did get open consistently. Brandon Williams made an impressive cut to burst into the end zone on his 20-yard touchdown catch and Lee Evans simply blew past the coverage for his 30-yard score. Wisconsin's receivers did suffer two drops. Once again, the group blocked very well.


Penn State game grade: B


Season-to-date GPA: 3.33


Offensive line


Penn State's defensive line won the battles in the first half, getting penetration and keeping Wisconsin from maintaining drives. The Badgers offensive line, though, again took the game over in the second half, punishing the Nittany Lions front seven. The team did not just run the ball time and again, they predominantly ran right up the middle. Penn State had to know what was coming, but they could not stop it. The line did an adequate job pass blocking.


Penn State game grade: AB


Season-to-date GPA: 3.25


Defensive line


Wisconsin's front four put on display an improved pass rush Saturday, though Penn State quarterback Michael Robinson did have plenty of throwing lanes, particularly in the second half (it should be noted that Penn State often had seven players in pass protection). The line won the battles against the run, turning Penn State into a purely one dimensional unit. Jonathan Welsh provided an impressive burst off the edge. 


Penn State game grade: AB


Season-to-date GPA: 3.08




Alex Lewis was all over the field Saturday, coming up with 11 tackles, two for loss, and a forced fumble. Jeff Mack's gutsy performance, fighting off an ankle injury to return to the field, gave the defense a big lift late in the game. Kareem Timbers had two tackles for loss and a sack and this corps helped stuff Penn State's running game early on. The linebackers, though, had a hard time making plays in coverage to slow down Michael Robinson's arm in the second half.


Penn State game grade: B


Season-to-date GPA: 2.75




Scott Starks and Levonne Rowan shut down Penn State's receivers in the first half, but Tony Johnson and Gerald Smith gained traction after halftime, especially on out and press patterns against Rowan. Penn State tight end Matt Kranchick got behind strong safety Ryan Aiello time and again, coming up with some of the day's biggest plays. Jim Leonhard was strong in coverage for the most part, but also had a tough time hanging with Penn State's receivers on occasion.  


Penn State game grade: C


Season-to-date GPA: 2.50


Special teams


It is hard to imagine a more eventful afternoon for this unit. Jim Leonhard's 65-yard punt return for touchdown was the biggest play of the game. R.J. Morse did a solid job punting, coming up with perhaps his best attempt of the season when he pinned Penn State at their two-yard line with less than a minute to play. Mike Allen hit a long field, but missed another, and the team botched an extra point attempt. Wisconsin's coverage units were vastly improved and caused and recovered two fumbles, leading to one touchdown late in the first half. A costly roughing call against Alex Lewis, though, gave Penn State renewed life and led to the game's second touchdown.


Penn State game grade: B


Season-to-date GPA: 2.25

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