Drive Blog: Badgers Survive Season Opener

Scott Tolzien passed for 257 yards and sophomore running back John Clay rushed for a pair of one-yard scores, but the Badgers had to hold off a late Northern Illinois strike to come away with a victory in their season opener.

Northern Illinois vs. Wisconsin

MADISON - Although the game ended with UW in the victory formation, the end result was a lot closer than it needed to be.

Junior quarterback Scott Tolzien passed for 257 yards and a touchdown in his first career start and sophomore running back John Clay rushed for a pair of one-yard scores, but the Badgers had to hold off a late Northern Illinois strike to come away with a victory in their season opener.

The victory gives the Badgers 15 straight non-conference victories and their 12th consecutive victory to open a season.

Stories from Badger Nation

Game Story: Off and Throwing

WR Anderson Makes an Impact

Notes: Defensive Line/Frederick Stand Out

Audio from Badger Nation

Head Coach Bret Bielema

TE Garrett Graham

WR Isaac Anderson

QB Scott Tolzien

First Half

First Quarter

7-0 Wisconsin

1 play, 80 yards, :11 TOP, 11:30 left

Isaac Anderson 80-yard pass from Scott Tolzien (Phillip Welch kick)

Key Play: How about that to start a season? Tolzien had great pocket protection and Anderson slipped behind the one-on-one coverage. Tolzien, who has been super accurate throughout camp, didn't miss a beat, throwing a perfect toss into Anderson's arms. The pass play was the fifth-longest in school history.

7-3 Wisconsin

5 play, 39 yards, 2:33 TOP, 3:15 left

FG Mike Salerno 40.

Key Play: Missed tackling again plagues the Badgers. Sophomore cornerback Aaron Henry, who missed last all of last season, showed bad tackling form, allowing running back Me'co Brown to run right past the Badger secondary for 47 yards, finally being tripped at the UW 15.

Second Quarter

14-3 Wisconsin

7 plays, 58 yards, 3:15 TOP, 14:52 left

Isaac Anderson 23-yard run (Welch kick)

Key Play: After scoring his first career touchdown in the first quarter, Anderson scores his first career rushing touchdown, taking the end around and tip toeing across the goal line.

14-6 Wisconsin

9 play, 59 yards, 5:12 TOP, 9:36 left

FG Mike Salerno 29.

Key Play: UW's defense had stopped NIU cold near midfield, but senior linebacker Jae McFadden grabbed a big handful of facemask. The result was a 15-yard personal foul penalty and allowing the drive to continue.

Second Half

Third Quarter

21-6 Wisconsin

11 plays, 92 yards, 5:37 TOP, 9:15 left

John Clay 1-yard run (Welch kick)

Key Play: On third-and-three on UW's 15, Tolzien connected with Nick Toon past the first-down markers. That wasn't enough for Toon, who made two defenders miss as he ran up the sideline for a 22-yard gain.

28-6 Wisconsin

12 plays, 67 yards, 5:58 TOP, 1:47 left

John Clay 1-yard run (Welch kick)

Key Play: Although UW is starting to have a healthy diet of run plays, Tolzien is still precise with his reads. The play of the drive was when he hit Garrett Graham over the middle of the field for a 19-yard gain.

Fourth Quarter

28-12 Wisconsin

9 plays, 76 yards, 3:44 TOP, 8:29 left

Chad Spann 1-yard run (pass failed)

Key Play: After being contained most of the game, sophomore quarterback Chandler Harnish was finally able to find some room against UW's defense, accounting for 61 yards on NIU's first scoring drive.

28-20 Wisconsin

10 plays, 31 yards, 5:33 TOP, 2:47 left

Chad Spann 2-yard run (Harnish run)

Key Play: NIU was gift wrapped a touchdown by the officials. O'Brien Schofield registered a sack and appeared to strip the football on third down, falling on it to recover. The officials ruled his forward progress was stopped, a play they announced was not reviewable.


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