Wisconsin pushes the run

The Badgers second drive of the game set the tone for a physical evening

New Page 1

It took but two drives for Wisconsin's running game to get the better of Ohio State's vaunted defense.


Dwayne Smith started at tailback for the Badgers who picked up one first down before punting on their opening possession. Wisconsin, though, opened it up to start the game, passing on two of its first six plays and operating predominantly out of spread formations.


The second time Wisconsin's offense took the field they turned the drive over to the offensive line and tailback Booker Stanley. Thirteen plays and 63 yards later, the Badgers had taken nearly seven and a half minutes off the clock and placed a touchdown on the scoreboard.


With about four minute left in first quarter, Stanley cut back against the grain and nearly broke it past the first wave, picking up four yards. Ohio State blitzed on the play and was flowing to Stanley's destination but the young tailback made an exceptional read and cut niftily upfield, picking up four yards when he looked set to lose yardage. On the very next play, Stanley went over left tackle on another stretch run and picked up nine.


The following play, with about three minutes left, Stanley went left and received a great kick out block by fullback Matt Bernstein, springing the redshirt freshman for six more. Again, for the fifth consecutive time, the Badgers turned to Stanley, who picked his way for three more. The Buckeyes line was losing the battle up front by an ever so slim, but vital, margin. Its secondary and linebackers, meanwhile, were doing a good job cutting down running lanes and keeping Stanley's good reads from turning into huge plays.


"We are a physical team and we knew coming in we would have to establish the run to throw the ball at all," Bernstein said. "It was raining at first so we knew we had to run the ball. Our offensive line did a great job and Booker did a great job running the ball."


On the ensuing third and one, the Badgers turned to Bernstein to run the ball. The 275-pound fullback appeared to pick up the needed yard, but at the end of the play a Buckeye was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving the Badgers a first and goal at the five.


Wisconsin then turned again to Stanley, who burst around the right corner, picking up another tremendous block from Bernstein before being taken down at the one.


Bernstein helped the Badgers avoid catastrophe on the next play, recovering Jim Sorgi's fumble at the two.


On third and goal at the two Booker Stanley darted to his left receiving a great block by guard Jonathan Clinkscale and dove into the end zone to give Wisconsin a 7-0 lead.


The Badgers would not have another drive like that second one Saturday, but the team did successfully turn to Stanley, who ran for 125 yards on 31 carries.

Badger Nation Top Stories