November 21, 2009

Post Northwestern: Notes and quotes

EVANSTON - During the loss to Northwestern, the Wisconsin football team allowed the most points against any opponent in 2009. As a result, the Badgers dropped their third game of the season and fell into a fourth place tie in the conference with the very same that just beat them.

The following are UW post-game notes following Saturday's 33-31 high-scoring affair:

Offensive notes:

-John Clay, who finished with 100 yards and a costly fumble late in the game, also scored his 13th touchdown of the season. For his career, he has 22 touchdowns that help him crack the top 10 on UW's single-season rushing TDs list.

-Scott Tolzien's 235 passing yards was the fifth time this season where he topped the 200-yard plateau. He two touchdown passes brought him to 16 total for the season, good for eighth place on UW's single-season list.

-Garrett Graham's 98 receiving yards were a career high. His two touchdowns put him at 16 for his career. That mark is good enough for fifth best in school history.

-Nick Toon finished the game with a career-high seven receptions. He also added 80 receiving yards to his final total.

Defensive notes:

-Freshman linebacker Chris Borland forced his fifth fumble of the season when he stripped Northwestern's Scott Concannon in the second quarter.

-Northwestern finished with 73 rushing yards, making them the eighth Big Ten opponent to rush for less than 100 yards against Wisconsin this season. That is a school record, surpassing the former mark of five held by three teams.

-Junior linebacker Blake Sorensen finished with a career-high eight tackles.

Special teams notes:

-David Gilreath returned a third-quarter punt 68 yards for a touchdown. It was Gilreath's first return of any kind for a touchdown in his career (163 combined punt and kickoff return attempts). It was UW's first non-blocked punt return for a touchdown since Brandon Williams returned one 63 yards for a TD against Indiana in October of 2005.

Quotes from inside the locker room:

-Bret Bielema on bowl prospects:

"Obviously, we control a lot of what happens. But it's probably a lot about what happens out there today. Fortunately for us, most of the Big Ten is done. We actually have another game in two weeks which will allow us to continue being talked about. The bowl scenario still has to pan out a little bit."

-J.J. Watt on allowing 33 points to Northwestern:

"Exactly, 33 points. And I know we gave up a ton of yards and we just can't do that. We need to create turnovers. We need to stop the run. We need to stop the pass. We need to get sacks. We really didn't do any of those things today and that's not going to win you a football game in the Big Ten."

-John Clay on how he plans to move forward from this game:

"I've got to learn from these mistakes, watch film and keep going up and raising the bar for myself. Try not to beat myself down too much. I've got to soak it in right now and then we've got Hawaii coming up and then this bowl game so I can build off from that for next year."

-Scott Tolzien on Northwestern:

"We knew coming in that they were a good squad, that they were a good ball club both offensively and defensively. You've got to give credit where credit's due. They played a great game, but at the same time, we always say to focus in on us. We've just got to play better, simple as that."

-Tolzien on his miscommunication with Nick Toon on third down midway through the fourth quarter:

"That's totally my fault. It was a miscommunication. I thought it was something different and it cost us because he definitely popped on that play. That would have been huge, another big score there.

I just read the play wrong. It wasn't anything up in the box or a read route by Nick by any means. I just thought he was running a different route. That's totally my fault and it cost us there. But you've got to learn from it and move on."

-Chris Maragos on what he saw during NU's trick-play in the first half:

"We were in a cover three look and they ran the bubble. I was the deep safety in the third and we kind of had some miscommunication on where the linebackers were supposed to line up. I got adjusted late and they ran a little bubble and go. The quarter into the third jumped up on it and I tried coming over late and they scored on it. They executed it really well."

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