Tate's legs fluster Badgers

Iowa quarterback's playmaking key in mistake-filled offensive game

IOWA CITY, Iowa—University of Iowa quarterback Drew Tate threw three interceptions Saturday, but the combination of a stingy Hawkeye defense that did not allow Wisconsin to take advantage, and his own positive playmaking, left Tate's mistakes a mere footnote in the Hawkeyes' 30-7 victory.

The indelible image was that of Tate spinning away from pressure late in the first half, then striding forward and throwing a javelin off his back foot to receiver Clinton Solomon for a 51-yard touchdown pass that gave Iowa a 14-7 lead heading into halftime.

"I think he's excellent. He's so nifty back there. You get pressure and it puts guys on eggshells because they are afraid to really go after him hard because he is going to make you miss," UW head coach Barry Alvarez said.

"The kid made a great play," defensive end Jonathan Welsh said.

The Hawkeyes signal-caller escaped would-be sacks on a handful of occasions, none more damaging than the quick little move that led to that touchdown pass to Solomon.

Adding to the Badgers' frustration, they had just sacked him twice on the preceding possession.

After Tate scrambled away from end Erasmus James for a six-yard run, that Hawkeye drive stalled after two Wisconsin sacks in a three-play span. Freshman mike linebacker Andy Crooks picked up the first, stepping up to meet Tate as he moved forward and to his right from the pocket.

Two plays later ends Erasmus James and Jonathan Welsh flushed Tate out of the pocket to his left, where will linebacker Dontez Sanders stopped him for an eight-yard loss, bringing up fourth-and-23 at the Iowa 27.

Jim Leonhard's 29-yard punt return then set up the Badgers' only scoring drive, tying the game at 7-7.

Tate, though, could not be corralled on Iowa's three-play, 60-yard answer, capped with the scoring toss to Solomon.

"I'm very impressed with him," Alvarez said. "He's a good player and a really competitive player and you can see that. He really creates a lot of things."

The Badgers had four sacks Saturday with Anttaj Hawthorne and James picking up the other two.

Tate, though, threw three touchdown passes.


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