UW's weapon of choice

Tailback Brian Calhoun overwhelming influence on Badger offense in win over Wolverines

MADISON — Brian Calhoun looked pretty content after Saturday's 23-20 win over Michigan. Just another career day for the junior tailback, who this time set a record for the most receptions by an Alvarez-era running back in a game, with seven for 59 yards.

Calhoun was the dominant force in the Badgers' offense. He had 35 carries for 155 yards and a touchdown in addition to his seven receptions. To put that into context, Wisconsin's entire offense had 58 touches and 287 yards of total offense. Calhoun had 42 touches for 214 total yards against a defense that allowed 110 rushing yards and 153 passing yards per game prior to Saturday.

Saturday, Michigan only gave up 147 passing yards and 140 net rushing yards, which includes 39 yards lost, mostly the result of the three times quarterback John Stocco was sacked in the first half. But while Michigan's defense appeared to slow Calhoun at times, it could not stop the tailback, who has recorded 140 touches, 770 all-purpose yards and nine touchdowns in his first four games as a Badger.

In all four games, Calhoun has proved to be a strong link in Wisconsin's offense, but in no game has he been more crucial than in Saturday's upset, when he was Wisconsin's rushing offense and led the Badgers in receptions and receiving yards.

"He's proved to have incredible endurance," Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr said. "For the most part, he does a great job, taking and reading his block, making great cuts in the six-seven-eight-yarders. Those runs keep the chains moving, maintain possession and that's what allows you to do some great things with time of possession."

Wisconsin had the ball for 34 minutes, 31 seconds of the game, while Michigan controlled the ball for 25:29; Calhoun played a crucial role in keeping the ball in Wisconsin's hands and giving the Badgers' defense a rest. In Wisconsin's key late-fourth-quarter drive that resulted in the game-winning touchdown, Calhoun had 39 yards on seven plays while wearing down the clock and setting Wisconsin up for Stocco's game-winning four-yard touchdown run with just 24 seconds left in the game.

"Brian Calhoun really helped us and made it a little easier with the yardage he got when he got out on the flank," Badger head coach Barry Alvarez said. "Boy, you see can what sprinter's speed does. That's a fast defense. They ran him down from inside a couple of times. He made some tremendous runs and got us some extra yardage down where it's tough, where they're crowded."

"He's a phenomenal player," fullback Matt Bernstein said. "He breaks tackles, he's somehow skinny and gets through guys. You know what? You just give him the ball and he'll produce and that's what you want him to do."

Badger Nation Top Stories