Accepting the Challenge

Senior Allen Langford has overcome a fair amount of challenges during this season. He's had to become the number one cornerback, overcome injuries and try to teach younger guys how to improve on the fly. On his last home game ever, he had to cover one of the toughest wide receivers in the I-AA.

MADISON - Seven inches and 28 pounds.

That's the difference between Cal Poly's wide receiver Ramses Barden and Wisconsin's cornerback Allen Langford.

Barden is not just a physical specimen, at 6-foot-6 and 227 pounds, but also has athleticism, experience and strength. The man simply creates fear in opponents.

It would have been wise for Langford to worry, but Langford is not the type. As a confident and scrappy player, he accepts all comers. In fact, he did a modest job against Barden for most of the game.

Barden ended the game with six receptions, 83 yards and one touchdown. Yet, without his one touchdown catch in overtime, those numbers would not have nearly as nice.

Barden has been a handful for every team he faced this year. Consider that Barden came in Saturday with 55 receptions, over 1,000 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns, including a touchdown in every game and one in 30 of 44 career games.

With one play, Barden extended that streak, as Langford gave up a touchdown to Barden in the corner of the endzone during overtime.

"Other than that play, there was only one or two times," said head coach Bret Bielema. "Allen Langford is one of the most strong-minded and competitive players I've ever been around."

This is not the first time that the Badgers have faced a receiver of this size or caliber. Last year, Indiana's James Hardy presented the same problems and was contained by Wisconsin's stout pass defense. Unfortunately, most of that game's responsibilities fell on the shoulders of the now departed Jack Ikegwuonu.

Just like against Hardy, the Badgers decided to cover Barden on several plays with just one player. That leaves Langford on an island to fend for himself and shows a tremendous amount of confidence in him.

Langford seemed up to the challenge. Without that last play, his day against Barden would have been sensational. The senior broke up several sure catches with hits and caused Barden to not be in the physical area that he preferred.

The best play of Langfords' day came when he broke up a key third and six in the fourth quarter. With Cal Poly just outside their redzone and looking to Barden in the endzone, Langford broke up a pass that would have given Cal Poly a 30-21 lead.

That play would most assuredly made the game out of reach for the Badgers and makes giving that last touchdown not nearly as hard to stomach.


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