Recording his first career interception in the third quarter, Borland, who is just one of three players in the country with at least three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries, recorded nine tackles and his sixth TFL of the season in a 31-28 victory over Indiana at Memorial Stadium.
"I think versatility is a really important part of being a good athlete, and especially a good football player," Borland said. "If I don't have to come off of the field, it puts a lot less pressure on your coaches from subbing in personnel and things like that. So I just try to do what is asked of me from a Badger perspective."
The coaches love what they have seen out of Borland and continually put him out there during critical situations. Even though Bielema and the coaches have lightened his workload a little bit, Borland continues to impress.
"Forty-four shows up," UW coach Bret Bielema said. "I know, it's kind of funny. He wanted to wear number four before the year started up, and I wouldn't let him, because I don't want a freshman to come in and wear a single digit number. You kind of have to earn those things. I'm going to give him some heat, here at the end of the year, because I know he is going to want to switch. You are playing the way you are, you might want to stick with that number, mustache and all. He is really just an amazing human being and a special kid."
Indiana even made the mistake of trying to test him in the return game. After Borland returned one short kickoff for a simply 10-yard gain, Borland took his next return 32 yards, setting up UW on the Indiana 49, field position that led UW to a touchdown.
"Chris Borland is a freak," Bielema said. "They kicked the ball to him, and I thought he was going to score. Dave Doeren upstairs goes ‘Oh my god, he's going to score', when he took off on that little return. He's just special."
Others are beginning to think Borland is special as well. He was the defending Big Ten co-Defensive Player of the Week and has already won special teams player of the week honors from the conference. The way he played, it doesn't appear that the freshman linebacker wants to give up that honor.
On Indiana's first drive of the second half, Borland intercepted a pass after Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell was hit by senior defensive end O'Brien Schofield. Borland was dropping into a zone defense when he saw the ball floating and stretched out and made the diving catch on his own six.
"I actually broke the wrong way for a step or two, but I was able to get back to the ball," Borland explained. "I saw that it was fluttering, I didn't know if it got hit or what happened, but I saw that it was a floater so I just went after it."
It was Borland's fourth turnover of his young career and first interception. Borland has stuffed the stat sheet throughout the season. He has numbers worthy of Big Ten freshman of the year honors, as he has recorded 35 tackles (23 solo, 12 assists), six tackles for a loss, three forces fumbles, three fumble recoveries, 2.5 sacks, and now one interception.
Clay sets the pace
Wisconsin has been known for its running backs for years. There was Alan Ameche, Ron Dayne, Brent Moss, Anthony Davis, P.J. Hill, and now there is John Clay.
As John Clay goes, so do the Badgers. The Badgers are now 6-0 when Clay scores a rushing touchdown, which he did from 11-yards out in Saturday's win.
He has dominated Big Ten play for the Badgers. Clay has rushed 144 times for 717 yards (4.97 ypc) and eight touchdowns in six Big Ten games (199.5 ypg). For the second time in as many games, Clay hit the century mark in the first half.
Clay made his presence felt early in the game when he rumbled for a 48-yard gain in the first quarter. However, late in the second quarter the bruising running back left the game a little shaken up and didn't return.
"John Clay, in the first half, was a machine," Bielema said after the game. "Unfortunately, he got a slight concussion so he missed the second half."
Clay is currently expected to return next week. He finished the game with 15 carries for 134 yards and one touchdown.
Clay needs just 27 yards in the final three games of the regular season to top the 1,000 yard mark and make it five straight years a Wisconsin running back to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. That would also make 15 of the last 17 running back to top 1,000 yards.
A return to the end zone
Issac Anderson started the season off with a bang. On the first offensive possession and play of the season, Scott Tolzien hit Anderson streaking down the sideline for an 80 yard touchdown. However, over the past seven games, Anderson didn't have a touchdown catch, until Saturday.
Anderson found himself running free across the endzone on a designed rollout by Tolzien. He caught the ball and got two feet in, while falling out of bounds. It was just the second touchdown catch of his career.
"It was a good feeling," Anderson said. "We had a play designed where I could run a route and try to get over everybody and sneak into the endzone. It was definitely a good feeling since the first game, man. Gives you some confidence after making a big play."
Anderson finished the game with three catches for 43 yards and the lone touchdown through the air on the day. Anderson currently has 25 catches for 390 yards and two touchdowns on the season.
Extra Points: Senior defensive end O'Brien Schofield entered the game tied for the NCAA lead for tackles for loss. He recorded 2.0 TFLs today, including 1.0 sack. He now has 18.5 TFLs and 7.5 sacks on the season ... Wisconsin went over 200 yards rushing for the second-straight game and the fourth game this season ... In the last seven games, Wisconsin has forced 18 turnovers. They have scored points off of 11 of those turnovers (nine TDs, two FGs). Two other turnovers led to the Badgers running out the clock to end the game (Minnesota and Purdue).