While the Badgers improved to 4-0, this win was certainly not pretty. It was difficult to pick out five stars this week, but these five probably deserve the honor.
1) David Braun -- Coach Barry Alvarez and Wide Receivers Coach Henry Mason have said repeatedly while some of the younger receivers have more talent and ability, Braun is among the most consistent, capable receivers on the offense. He proved it during the Northern Illinois game, catching a career high four passes for 56 yards. He set up the winning touchdown with a great route/catch and drawing pass interference near the goal line on the very next play. Braun is one of the only players that stepped it up a notch today.
2) Darius Jones -- Despite playing with a large cast on his hand, Jones had perhaps his best game to date. Jones had two sacks and three tackles-for-loss and nearly had a couple more. Even in a three-man rush scheme, Jones was getting consistent pressure in the backfield, and made one nice tackle to avoid a long run. Jones might have hurt his hand late in the game, but no updates were available following the game.
3) Alex Lewis -- Lewis continues to show great fire and athleticism at the outside linebacker position. He gets star status for the NIU game primarily for his solo effort on NIU's last punt, where Lewis forced the protector to hold him (or he would have run straight through him) and forced the Huskies to punt out of their end zone. But Lewis also had the best game of the linebacking corps Saturday, and had three tackles-for-loss.
4) Brooks Bollinger -- I might get a lot of heat for this one (judging from calls to sports radio programs and my phone over the last few hours), but I think Bollinger deserves this. He led the team down the field for the winning touchdown (which he scored himself). He completed 15-of-23 passes for 207 yards. Granted, he made some mistakes and shares some blame for many of the 10 sacks. It was not his best effort. But he made some nice plays and didn't make any backbreaking decisions. I'd rather see him take a sack than see him throw one up for grabs. Bollinger did, however, throw his first interception of the year.
5) Scott Campbell -- As Campbell told me for the story we ran on the site yesterday, he isn't satisfied until he kicks the ball through the endzone every time. He came one kick shy of doing that this afternoon, and the only one that didn't made it to the two-yard line. A great effort by Campbell, and he was perfect on his PAT's and 29-yard field goal attempt. This was a major step in the right direction...R.J. Morse also deserves recognition for a great day punting. He averaged 41.6 yards on nine punts, pinning NIU inside the 20 on four occasions.
Badger Nation Stars of the Game: Northern Illinois
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