The Badgers have improved to 2-1 on the season as they defeated Troy 28-3 this afternoon.

Game Recap

The game was close for most of the first half as Wisconsin struggled to move the ball down field. The Badgers could not create separation until they mounted a seven play, 90-yard touchdown drive to close out the half leading 14-3. You can read my first half notes here.

In the second half, the Trojans received the ball and drove into Badger territory until a strip sack by Joe Schobert was recovered by Badger safety Michael Caputo. Troy only threatened to score once more when they missed a 47-yard field goal. After the fumble, the Badgers stormed down the field on a seven play, 67-yard touchdown drive, taking the lead 21-3. On the play that scored the touchdown, Wisconsin lined up in the wildcat formation with McEvoy and he ran it in from 32 yards out. This drive pretty much took out all the hope for the Trojans in making a comeback. Towards the end of the fourth, Stave completed his only touchdown pass of the afternoon to Austin Traylor on a one yard throw. That touchdown was set up by a 38-yard pass to Traylor, which was one of several long completions by Stave today.

Stave finished the day 13/17 for 202 yards with that touchdown pass and a rushing touchdown. Officially third string running back Taiwan Deal ran for 84 yards on 16 carries, and second string running back Dare Ogunbowale ran for 75 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown.

Targeting Ejections

There was a questionable ejection in the first half after Leon Jacobs was flagged for targeting QB Brandon Silvers on what would have been a sack. Jacobs hit Silvers pretty hard in the numbers, but because his helmet flew off ,they called the penalty and ejected him. Later in the game, the Badgers were penalized for targeting again, this time by nickelback Derrick Tindal. Granted it was a worse hit, there was no reason for him to be ejected from the game based on the rules. The Badger fans made sure their displeasure was heard both times.

After the game, the Wisconsin State Journal’s Jim Polzin interviewed the head referee about the targeting calls.

Pool reporter question: What rule was applied on first play that led to the ejection?

Answer: We have the targeting foul, that we have two components of targeting in NCAA football: using the crown of the helmet, as well as targeting a defenseless player. And there are definitions of defenseless players. If you want, I can read you those. The quarterback is one. So it was the quarterback – he’s defenseless. So with a quarterback, any forcible contact to the head or neck area is targeting. So he’s in a defenseless mode, because he had just thrown the ball. It was not roughing the passer, because of the timing of it. So roughing the passer was not on the table. But the contact was to the head or neck area, so we need to look at was it forcible contact to the head or the neck. It was determined that it was. So that was the rule that was applied.

Pool reporter question: Which rule is it?

Answer: That is 9-1-4.

Pool reporter question: So in your opinion the Wisconsin player made contact with the quarterback’s neck or head?

Answer: My opinion is that the foul gets called, we go to replay. Replay either confirms, they stand or they reverse it. The shots that they had confirmed the foul that there was that scenario. I would give you my opinion, but I can’t because I didn’t have the foul.

Pool reporter question: Can you tell me the rule that was applied the second play that led to the ejection?

Answer: We have a receiver, he falls into a defenseless category. Any contact to the head or neck, just like in the other one, we’re going to have a foul. So it’s 9-1-4 that was applied in the second scenario as well.

Coach Paul Chryst had the following to say about targeting.

Q. On the two targeting calls, what did you see from your vantage point?

COACH CHRYST: Yeah, doesn’t matter what I see. But the officials are good. At that point, it’s all — really, it’s out of their hands at times. And there’s no doubt that every coach that I know wants to — and this is for all rules, to make this game safer, no question. And I just want to make sure — we have taken a lot of pride in coaching good football. We want to make sure, I look forward to getting the reports and seeing it and make sure that we’re doing our part and that our players are — we want to be a physical team. It’s a physical game. We want to make sure we’re doing it the right way and take pride in that.

Defense Led by Orr Stymies Troy

Inside linebacker Chris Orr, a true freshman, was Jacobs’ replacement and was everywhere for the Badgers, leading the team in tackles with 14. It was encouraging to see someone with such little college football experience play such a big role on defense. He could be a staple of the Badger defense in the near future.

The Badgers defense struggled to stop the Trojans on third down, allowing them to convert 7 of 16 (44%). This allowed the Trojans to have the ball on offense longer than the Badgers. Wisconsin heads to Big Ten play in two weeks and in order for them to win the West, they will be paying more and more attention to third down plays. Regardless of their third down play, the Badgers have only given up three points in eight quarters, so it’s hard to argue with their defense in the past two games.

Stave Supports Wild-Cat (#TannerCat) Moving Forward If It Works

Our Zach Rosen interviewed Joel Stave after the game about Tanner McEvoy’s success in the wild cat.

Fire Alarm Continues Strange Afternoon

During the middle of the fourth quarter, the fire alarm went off throughout Camp Randall. Play stopped and no one really knew what to do. We were told to evacuate the stadium, but the fans, media, and the players all stayed. It was a strange stop in play in what was a strange day in Madison, WI.

Postgame Interviews

Below are clips from the postgame interviews with quarterback Joel Stave and inside linebacker Chris Orr.