Notebook: Thomas a Lombardi semifinalist

Wisconsin junior one of 12 in contention for prestigious honor; home winning streak on the line; record watch

Joe Thomas, a junior left tackle on the University of Wisconsin football team, has been named a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award. The honor goes to the nation's best offensive lineman, defensive lineman or linebacker.

Thomas is one of 12 players still under consideration for the award, and one of just four offensive linemen. Thomas was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection last season.

The list of semifinalists includes three other Big Ten players: linebacker AJ Hawk, Ohio State; linebacker Paul Posluszny; and center Greg Eslinger.

In addition to Thomas and Eslinger, the other offensive linemen on the list are tackles D'Brickshaw Ferguson of Virginia and Eric Winston of Miami (Fla.).

Home cooking: Wisconsin has won 10 straight games at Camp Randall, dating back to the beginning of the 2004 season. It is the nation's sixth-longest current home winning streak. The Badgers were just 12-10 at home from 2001-03, but are undefeated in Madison since phase one of the Camp Randall renovation completed the stadium bowl.

"I always tell the kids the stadiums and the fans don't win the games for you," Alvarez said. "You have to win, you're the one that has to execute, you're the one that has to make plays, but your opponent has to execute through crowd noise and through distractions and all the potential things that can happen on the road. And I think we have become a tougher place.

"It's always been a tough place to play here. But I think since the renovation and as we were bowled up, I think our fans get into it more. It seems like, in a lot of the big games, they've really been into the games, and I think that's really helped."

The Badgers have two home games left this season, including Saturday's contest. They host Iowa to wrap up the Big Ten campaign Nov. 12.

"That's one of our goals too is to be undefeated at home every year," safety Joe Stellmacher said. "Another win on Saturday is another step towards completing that goal for us."

Record watch: Receiver Brandon Williams needs one reception to break Lee Evans' career school record. Williams reached Evans' 175 receptions with seven catches last week at Minnesota.

With 14 rushing touchdowns in seven games, tailback Brian Calhoun is on pace to have 26 this season, assuming the Badgers play in a bowl game. That would be five more the Ron Dayne's single-season school record 21 set in 1996. Calhoun is also on pace to break Dayne's single-season record 337 carries, set in '99. Calhoun has 199 carries, and is on pace to have 370.

With 1,416 passing yards this season, quarterback John Stocco is on pace for 2,630 yards, which would easily surpass Darrell Bevell's single-season record 2,390, set in 1993.

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