September 05, 2010

UNLV 21 - 41 Wisconsin

A decent start for UW. It was a classic non-conference Wisconsin game, in that they dominated the other team but still made enough mistakes to make you nervous at halftime. Tolzien threw a pick 6, and Nick Toon fumbled in the red zone, which led directly to 14 of UNLV's 21 points.

However, aside from that one bad throw Tolzien looked really good. I think I heard the phrase "game manager" half a hundred times during the broadcast, and generally when the Badgers needed a completion he and the wideouts came through. But of course, Wisconsin's calling card is the running game and holy crap did it look good. The only negative I can say about it is that they have so many great backs that Clay might not get enough carries to win the Heisman. Clay had several of his trademark runs where he was hit and then ran another 7-8 yards with a guy on his back, and Ball looked good too. But the player who impressed me the most was freshman James White, the 'speed back'. He got 11 carries and looked great, and what especially pleased me was that the Badgers put him back for a few kick returns, though from the stat sheet it looks like he didn't get a chance to run with any of them. Despite all the love the announcers were giving Gilreath I've never thought that he was an especially good returner.

The offense in general was in good form, starting from the first drive where they marched down the field, eating a ton of clock on the way (~7:30 on the opening drive). Wisconsin dominated the TOP by 17 minutes and it felt like a LOT longer.

The special teams have looked better so far, and the best news I saw all game was that Bielema is no longer coaching the special teams himself this year. There was lots of criticism in the media the past few seasons that Bielema's handling of the ST unit was weak due to his other responsibilities, but that could just be a correlation = causation fallacy.

The defense looked great, but of all the team's units I can't really say much about them until they face a real offense at ASU or MSU. Watt still looks great, and Borland looks just as dominant as he did last year. The Badgers were also all over the Rebels backfield early in the game, which was great to see. Valai got beat on one of UNLV's touchdowns but that happens sometimes (that's what the play action is for anyway). The safeties are good but I don't have any clue about the cornerbacks this year.

My memories of the second half are a lot hazier after the Badgers pushed the score up to 41. We were watching it on DVR (to skip commercials) and it was after 1 in the morning at that point, so I was nodding off. I put on the rest of the game in the morning but already knew that not much else was going to happen.

Final stats:
Total Yards: UW 475, UNLV 217
Rushing Yards: UW 278, UNLV 112
Passing Yards: UW 197, UNLV 105
Fumbles: UW 1, UNLV 1
TOP: UW 38:19, UNLV 21:41


Anonymous said...

nice start to the season. i wish they'd have skipped the turnovers you discussed. that way i could have gotten to be alot earlier and had one less beer.

Anonymous said...

another couple of thoughts on the game b,

it's good to know bielema's not the st coach anymore.

that freshman running back can fly. they will have to find ways to get the ball into his hands.

clay looked good, but a little bigger (that might just be my screen).

still a comfy road win to start the season is a good thing. as has been the case for years the non-conference should be pretty no9n-eventful for the badgers.

Berselius said...

The Badgers have the rest of their non-conference games at home. ASU is the only team that's a credible threat to lose by less than 2 touchdowns.

I always forget how much the nonconference season feels like spring training. I'm all excited for football then have to watch a month of blowouts. I can't wait for the "real" season (i.e. Big 10 season) to begin.