Indiana at Wisconsin, In-game analysis

The Badgers take over at the 20.

  • Wisconsin runs a pass on first down, hoping to get a last-minute TD. Donovan is almost sacked, so the Badgers opt to let the clock run out.

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WISCONSIN 17, INDIANA 3

6 plays, 33 yards, 1:59

Andrew Means is the target on this drive. First a screen play picks up a few. Then he finds room in the soft middle and Lewis finds him. He runs down to the Wisconsin 32.

  • Lewis gets it to Hardy for a 4-yard gain.
  • Wisconsin lines up with just three down linemen — meaning they’re dropping eight — and still Kirk DeCremer beats Rodger Saffold around the end and sacks Lewis.
  • Huge play: 3rd and 9 from the 31. Wisconsin gets through with two linebackers blitzing, forcing Lewis right. He lofts for Hardy, unsuccessfully.
  • Austin Starr hits a 49-yard field goal. That’s a career long, and he’s know one FG away from tying the record for most in a year by an Indiana kicker. Pete Stoyanovich had 17 in 1988.

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Wisconsin again starts close to midfield, at its own 46.

  • A reverse to the tight end? Sure. Beckam picks up 12.
  • Donovan has time, but tries to force a pass into double coverage. It sails to far.
  • The Hoosiers get a stop.
  • On 3rd and 9, Donovan keeps it and picks up 20.
  • Indiana contains Smith on 1st down, holding him to two yards.
  • Smith tries to get around end this time, and can get just two more yards.
  • Porter with a great read on that play. He saw it the whole way and then waited before breaking on the ball. He takes it from the end zone out to the 36.

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Indiana’s average starting position today has been the 19.

  • Wisconsin’s has been the 39.
  • Here, the Hoosiers begin at their 18.
  • Screen for Means goes left for five yards.
  • Thigpen on a delayed hand off, he loses two.
  • Indiana faces 3rd and 7, and Lewis again misses Walker-Roby. Those two just don’t seem to be able to find each other.
  • Hines kicks a low line drive punt and it travels 39 yards.

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Injury update: Wisconsin won’t have Hill to help push out of its zone. He’s being evaluated now and has some sort of “lower-leg” injury.

  • Maybe the Badgers won’t need him. Donovan stands in — for a while — and finds Jefferson running under the safeties. He’s being chased by about four Indiana players, who can’t do anything but watch him catch the ball for a 22-yard gain.
  • Hill tries on first, he gets just one yard.
  • Lance Smith with a carry now, and he gets through for four yards.
  • On 3rd and 5, Middleton gets through and chases Donovan. He rolls left and picks up four. Wisconsin will have to punt.
  • Porter has some trouble grabbing this punt. It goes further than he thought it would and he has to turn and makes a Willie Mays catch. That’s a 55-yard punt.

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There’s the Lewis keeper that was missing last week. He picks up just three, but maybe that will cause hesitation from the ‘backers.

  • Well-run screen to Means for nine. Good design and execution.
  • Now Lewis with a quick drop and pass to Hardy on a wheel-route. Three yards. Nickel and dime, nickel and dime.
  • Thigpen bounces and picks through the line, gaining six. This has been a great sequence of play calls, but it will mean nothing if Indiana can’t get the one yard it needs for a first down.
  • Another good call, as Lewis keeps on the option and gets across the mark.
  • Lewis bolts up middle — again, something he couldn’t or wouldn’t do next week — and is hit hard from behind. He has the ball tucked in his right arm, but it is ripped out by Jason Chapman. The ball is picked up and run down to the Indiana 12 by Wisconsin.
  • Lewis thinks he was down, and I actually might agree with him. The ball came out pretty late. Now they’ll take a look.
  • The reviews we’re seeing seem to indicate he was down when the ball came fully loose. Question will be whether it was loose.
  • The ruling is reversed. Indiana will keep the ball. That’s the right call.
  • Giving new life, Indiana tries its old option up the middle play. Thigpen and Lewis seem to have some miscommunication, and are stuck for a second. Only one yard.
  • Lewis drops the snap but picks it up and makes five yards out of nothing.
  • On 3rd and five, LB Jonathan Casillas pressures Lewis into running right. He tries to squeeze a pass into Hardy on the sideline, and it gets by but not into Hardy’s hands.
  • Porter catches Hines’ punt, pinning the Badgers at their 4.

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WISCONSIN 17, INDIANA 0 (14:09)

  • Drive details: 3 plays, 41 yards, 0:32

The Badgers again have a short field, as they begin on Indiana’s 41.

  • Donovan opts to throw on first down, and finds Kyle Jefferson running free toward the sideline. He catches the ball in front of three Indiana defenders and has a 17-yard gain.
  • Now Donovan throws the other way — similar route — and Beckam picks up 18 yards.
  • Zach Brown scoots around Indiana’s defense, which is expected something up the middle, and picks up the six yards needed for a touch down. That’s his first career TD.

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Tracy Porter makes a fair catch at 8-yard line.

  • Bryan Payton tries to push up the gut on first down. He picks up two yards on the final play of the first quarter.
  • Kellen Lewis tries to escape the pocket and is brought down with a horse-collar tackle near the sideline.
  • On 3rd and 11, Lewis tries for Roby but misses him.
  • Hines punts from his end, against the wind this time, and gets it out to the 44-yard line.

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Wisconsin again starts near midfield.

  • Donovan showing poise and picking up 11 yards and a first down with his feet.
  • Heavy blitz on 2nd and 9 causes Donovan to force his pass, and it is almost tipped into the arms of Nick Polk.
  • Middleton picks up the coverage sack. That puts him 3rd on the single-season list for most sacks in program history with 10.5.

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Indiana starts at its 31, as Wisconsin doesn’t kick deep this time.

  • Lewis rolls left and finds nothing. He throws it away.
  • Sears, he of the broke hand, carries on second and gains seven. Tough run there. Apparently Sears’ hand is very swollen.
  • Lewis drops and finds Bailey, who is hit and knocked out of bounds.
  • Sears up the middle. Has the makings of a four or five-yard gain. Then he’s hit hard — while holding the ball in his right hand — and fumbles.

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Being down 10 probably isn’t reason for Indiana to panic. It can score quickly. And the run defense should be feeling OK after holding Hill a few times and pushing the Badgers to fourth down before the score.

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WISCONSIN 10, INDIANA 0 (3:42)

  • Drive details: 11 plays, 52 yards, 6:12

Wisconsin starts near midfield.

  • First three plays are running plays up middle. Hills has a long gain on first down, but then is held on the next two.
  • Donovan finds Beckam this time, as the tight end runs underneath the zone and picks up the first down, getting all the way to Indiana’s 14 with a few steps forward after the catch.
  • Hills picks up four after a quick move in the backfield. His feet are very quick.
  • But Indiana stops him on second down, bringing up a 3rd and three.
  • Zach Brown in for Hill, and he’s able to push through the left side of the line and pick up four yards.
  • DT Joe Kremer is the injured Indiana player on the field. He also had trainers look at his ankle earlier. This appears to be a knee injury.
  • Hill carries on first and goal, and Brian Faires gets to him in the backfield. He went unblocked, but took a good angle and made a strong tackle.
  • Hill again, this time hit early and bulls through to pick up three.
  • Wisconsin’s a yard from the end zone, and Hill can’t get through. No gain.
  • The ball is literally about seven inches from the line. the Badgers will go for it. Hill follows three blockers, plunges left and gets in.

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Wisconsin kicks to Marcus Thigpen — a rare occurance — and his 17-yard return makes him the 6th Indiana player in school history to have 1,000 kick return yards.

  • Before its first play, Indiana is charged with a time out. Looks like they didn’t have the right players on the field, as RB Josiah Sears jogged on alongside the water-bottle carriers. Sears is playing with a broken bone in his right hand.
  • Indiana’s first play is meant to be a quick screen to WR James Hardy on the far side. But Kellen Lewis’ throw is off, and Wisconsin had read the play and was stacked to that side.
  • Marcus Thigpen carries on second down but can’t get past DE Matt Shaughnessy.
  • Lewis drops on third, has time and throws to Courtney Walker-Roby. The pass sails high.
  • Michael Hines, kicking with the wind, manages to send his punt only 38 yards.

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WISCONSIN 3, INDIANA 0 (11:00, first quarter)

  • Drive details: 9 plays, 40 yards, 3:54

Wisconsin begins with the ball on its 36, uses the run to get in scoring position and converts a 44-yard field goal.

  • The Badgers know the Hoosiers. On first down, they opt for a P.J. Hill run up the middle, and Hill is able to bounce outside and gain nine.
  • Hill again on second down. He’ll be tackled probably 20 to 30 times today. I would guess on only two or three of those will it be by one person.
  • Zach Brown gets the carry for a change of pace. He’s quick to the hole.
  • Brown again. Can’t tell if these are designed counters or if the Wisconsin backs are just finding cut-back room.
  • Hill, on first down, carries for another first down to the Indiana 24. Six straight runs.
  • Fullback Chris Pressly is stacked at the line.
  • QB Tyler Donovan drops for what looks to be his first pass, but flips the ball to Hill instead. He’s tackled for a loss of three.
  • Donovan misses his star tight end, Travis Beckam, badly on what would have been a first down pass. Had some pressure from DE Greg Middleton.
  • Tyler Melhaff hits a 44-yard field goal against the win.

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Indiana wins the toss and opts to kick first. Late-arriving crowd is filling in the student section, which spans almost one fourth of the stadium.

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The band has played and the teams have taken the field. A bright sun has broken through and suddenly the sky is a clearly blue with only intermittent clouds. It started out chilly here, and most of the fans are still bundled up. But the direct sun is fairly warm.

Good day for Big Ten football.