RB Dare Ogunbowale bruises against the touch Wisconsin defense. (Rebecca Haas, sconniesportstalk.com)

Wisconsin spring football game: Hornibrook, Rushing, Biegel shine

“It’s a group that — they’ve got a lot of self-starters” was how Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst described the Badgers after their spring game on Saturday.

To the team’s credit, they showed that to be true as many players capped off spring practice on a high note. Running backs Corey Clement, Taiwan Deal and Bradrick Shaw all eclipsed 30 yards. Clement also capped off the first series, his only series, with a touchdown.

Click here for photos from Saturday.

Wide receivers George Rushing and Peter Roy also had great days as Rushing had two receptions for 89 yards and two touchdowns. Roy also had two catches for 49 yards. But the real star of the day came from the quarterback position, where a competition is heating up very quickly.

Alex Hornibrook went 4-8, 138 yards and two touchdowns, both going to Rushing as the two showed some budding chemistry.

“Me and Alex are pretty close, and I just know when we’re on the field, I know what he’s thinking,” Rushing said after the scrimmage.

On Hornibrook’s first drive of the scrimmage he launched a 46-yard rainbow to Rushing, displaying the deep ball accuracy that Chryst sees in the redshirt freshman. The other touchdown came on a 43-yard pass to Rushing, but Rushing also had some nice yardage after the catch to complete the touchdown.

Another large chunk of Hornibrook’s yardage came on a 43-yard pass to Peter Roy, who fought off a pass interference to make a nice grab.

Chryst liked what he saw in Hornibrook in the scrimmage but emphasized that it was a long ways from the first real game, in September.

I thought he had poise, and the one thing that Alex does is he’s an accurate deep ball passer,” Chryst said. “He gives nice a chance to make a play, so I think he had some good plays today, certainly, but this is one of 15, and it’s April.”

Despite the good day, Hornibrook also took away some areas he could still improve on.

There was a couple at the end that I could of got the ball out a little quicker, could have got it to Kyle to get a touchdown there,” Hornibrook said, highlighting the final play in which Keelon Brookins dropped a sure pick-six that would have won the game for the defense.

Bart Houston, a redshirt senior, also had a nice day throwing the ball. Although he did not have the total yardage or touchdowns that Hornibrook did, Houston had more completions, going 7 for 13. His longest pass came in the second half of the scrimmage, completing a pass to running back Shaw for a 19-yard gain.

After the scrimmage, Houston said he felt good heading into summer. On the competition heating up, Houston said that it will be a long process and that he needs to focus on himself and his development.

“Well it’s gonna be a competition from the spring to the summer to the fall,” Houston said. ”You gotta beat yourself each and every day.”

On the defensive side, Vince Biegel continues to make up the identity of the team. He lead the team in total tackles, with five, and sacks, with two. While Biegel seems to be the leader of the defense going into the summer, Chryst emphasized the importance of everyone on the defense making a complete identity to build on.

“I think every team you want the identity coming from the players,” Chryst said. “And Vince is — would be the starting point, but you talk about football and you’re talking about especially defensive football, we’re going to be good if the identity is that whole group.”

With 133 days left until the game against the LSU Tigers at Lambeau field, the Badgers ended spring practice on a high note.

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