UW, Daniels exploit Owls' scheme

Tight end scores three of UW's nine touchdowns

MADISON — In the midst of Saturday's 65-0 blowout of Temple, the Wisconsin Badgers' got a career effort from tight end Owen Daniels.

The former quarterback spent much of the offseason working hard on his blocking skills, which have showed improvement thus far, but he shined as a receiver Saturday, racking up 88 yards on six catches, three of them touchdowns, all career highs for the senior.

"We thought going in that we could feature him," UW head coach Barry Alvarez said. "He responded … caught it well and ran with the ball well when he caught it."

"We saw some stuff on film during the week of their last game and last season that the tight end will be open in certain situations, so we tried to exploit that," Daniels said.

Daniels' first touchdown of the season was the first of the game for UW. On third-and-goal from the six-yard line, Daniels was matched up with a Temple linebacker. He ran a short and simple out route, then spun back and John Stocco hit him in stride as the move back fooled the coverage.

"I knew Owen would be a great player for us this year and a big part of our offense and he made a lot of great plays," Stocco said. "He's got everything you want in a tight end. I think he's only going to get better."

Oddly enough, Daniels would score on the exact same route on his second score against similar coverage.

"I don't know exactly what coverage they were playing," Daniels said. "I guess I like [going up against a linebacker] more than going up against a [defensive back]."

Stocco wouldn't go so far as to say that Daniels is a security blanket for him, but the quarterback-quarterback connection definitely plays a role with the two.

"A lot of times he's my first read," Stocco said. "It's great to have a guy with that size and speed out in the middle of the field."

With 6:32 left in the second quarter, Daniels caught his third and final touchdown, sneaking through the seam as the secondary missed the coverage. Stocco found the wide-open Daniels for 15 yards.

Wisconsin displayed last weekend that it has an offensive rushing weapon in Brian Calhoun, but on Saturday it showed that it is not a one-dimensional team, and Owen Daniels will continue to be a key player in Wisconsin's offense through the air.

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