September 27, 2009

Series by series: UW's offense against MSU

MADISON, Wis. - Offensively, Wisconsin utilized a well-balanced game plan to keep Michigan State on its heels in Saturday's 38-30 win. In total, UW compiled 436 yards of total offense with 193 of them rushing and 243 passing.

Today, takes a look back at every offensive possession. The following is a series-by-series recap of Saturday's Big Ten opening win.

First Quarter:

Drive No. 1: Started on Michigan State 43 yard line following 37-yard Aaron Bates punt.
Plays: 3
Yards: 3
Result: 37-yard Brad Nortman punt

Key play: It appeared that Scott Tolzien had Nick Toon wide-open near the sideline, but the junior quarterback simply didn't have enough mustard on the pass during the first play of the game for UW's offense.

Drive No. 2: Started on own 43 yard line following 46-yard Bates punt.
Plays: 6
Yards: 14
Result: 43-yard Nortman punt.

Key play: On third and nine, UW offensive coordinator Paul Chryst called for a draw play. Unfortunately MSU didn't fall for it and Zach Brown was only able to gain two yards.

Drive No. 3: Started at midfield following Mike Taylor interception.
Plays: 6
Yards: 50
Result: 15-yard Garrett Graham touchdown reception. (7-0 Wisconsin)

Key play: Inside the five yard line, UW's Lance Kendricks was whistled for holding that moved UW back to MSU's 15 yard line. On the ensuing play, though, Tolzien connected with Graham, who made a very nice catch, for the score.

Second Quarter:

Drive No. 4: Started on own 30 yard line following kickoff. (7-7)_
Plays: 8
Yards: 70
Result: Six-yard Graham touchdown reception. (14-7 Wisconsin)

Key play: On first and goal from the six, Tolzien withstood a heavy blitz and tossed the ball towards Graham. Though it looked low, Graham was able to make the catch to put UW back up.

Drive No. 5: Started on own 31 yard line following Chris Maragos interception.
Plays: 12
Yards: 69
Result: One-yard John Clay touchdown run. (21-7 Wisconsin)

Key play: Just outside of the redzone, UW faced a third and five situation. Tolzien found Graham on a quick in route and Graham was able to reach just far enough to move the chains. Three plays later, Clay would punch it in.

Drive No. 6: Started on own 48 yard line following 37-yard Bates punt.
Plays: 3
Yards: 0
Result: 36-yard Nortman punt.

Key play: Tolzien was forced from the pocket and was rolling to his left. He finally noticed Isaac Anderson wide open for what would have been at least a 10-yard play, but he threw the ball too low for Anderson to haul in.

Drive No. 7: Started on own 27 yard line
Plays: 1
Yards: 4

Key play: Brown rushed for four yards and UW was content with letting the clock run out to signal the half.

Third Quarter:

Drive No. 8: Started on own 15 following second half kickoff.
Plays: 3
Yards: 15
Result: Brown lost fumble.

Key play: With Clay rushing for 19 yards on the first two plays of the drive, UW tried to switch it up and run a pitch play to Brown. However, Brown couldn't handle the pitch and MSU pounced on the loose ball.

Drive No. 9: Started on own 27 yard line following kickoff. (21-10 Wisconsin)
Plays: 17
Yards: 50
Result: 41-yard Philip Welch field goal. (24-10 Wisconsin)

Key play: Talk about an old-fashioned Wisconsin drive. This one ate up seven minutes and 33 seconds of the third quarter. MSU got a fair dose of Clay in this one as the sophomore bullied his way with 10 carries before the drive stalled setting up Welch's field goal.

Drive No. 10: Started on own 32 yard line following kickoff. (24-17 Wisconsin)
Plays: 4
Yards: 68
Result: 19-yard Toon touchdown reception (31-17 Wisconsin)

Key play: On the first play of the drive, Tolzien threw an absolutely picture perfect throw to Anderson in tight coverage for 45 yards. Then, on the final play of the drive, Tolzien threw another perfect pass to Toon who beat his man on a seam route on third and six from MSU's 19 for the score.

Drive No. 11: Started on the MSU 32 yard line following J.J. Watt fumble recovery.
Plays: 3
Yards: 32
Result: 23-yard Graham touchdown reception. (38-17 Wisconsin)

Key play: Graham simply got by his defender and was wide open down the middle of the field for an easy touchdown, his third of the day.

Drive No. 12: Started on own 37 yard line following turnover on downs.
Plays: 9
Yards: 43
Result: Turnover on downs

Key play: UW was marching midway through the fourth quarter, but already up 21-points the play calling was rather conservative. However, give credit to MSU's Greg Jones for stuffing Clay on a fourth and one rushing attempt to force the turnover on downs.

Drive No. 13: Started on own 20 following Maragos interception.
Plays: 3
Yards: 8
Result: 35-yard Nortman punt.

Key play: On third and three, it seemed as though Tolzien was flustered on a quarterback draw and couldn't get more than one yard, forcing UW to punt.

Drive No. 14: Started on MSU 41 following onside kick. (38-23 Wisconsin)
Plays: 3
Yards: -2
Result: 34-yard Nortman punt.

Key play: Nortman did a good job pinning MSU deep in its own territory throughout the game. This time, he forced them to start on their own nine yard line.

Drive No. 15: Started on own 31 yard line following kickoff (38-30 Wisconsin)
Plays: 1
Yards: -1

Key play: UW simply took a knee to end the game and calm any late anxiety that was built up by MSU's late scores.

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