35 Ways To Pummel Indiana

On Friday I wrote here that the Wisconsin football Badgers would beat the Indiana Hoosiers by 30 points on Saturday.

I was wrong. Bret Bielema’s team won by 35 points, 55-20.

In honor of the Badgers’ largest margin of victory in this difficult season, here’s 35 reasons the Badgers won big on Saturday:

1. It was Senior Day at Memorial Stadium. Unfortunately for the Hoosiers, Indiana has been so devastated by injuries that by the end of the game they were forced to field actual seniors.

2. Indiana head coach Bill Lynch looks a little too much like Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh. It’s not as close as Ned Yost/George W. Bush, but it’s there. The resemblance must undercut his team’s respect of him.

3. Wisconsin quarterback Dustin Sherer hails from the Indianapolis suburb of Cicero. And while Sherer’s stats weren’t mind-blowing (10-of-19 for 143 yards and an interception), he played mostly very smart football. Obviously Sherer wanted to impress his home state.

4. Wisconsin quarterback Dustin Sherer’s younger brother is a redshirt freshman linebacker for Indiana. Obviously Sherer wanted to embarrass his younger brother.

5. On the first play of scrimmage, Indiana cornerback Richard Council clapped manically after P.J. Hill rushed for “only” a four-yard gain. Council must have known that limiting Wisconsin’s rushing attack to four yards a carry would have to be considered a victory for the Indiana defense. Turns out the Indiana defense couldn’t maintain that pace, as they went on to allow a whopping 7.2 yards per run.

6. Speaking of Hill, he almost singlehandedlyset the tone for Wisconsin being able to come out and play the style of game they wanted to play. Hill rushed for 71 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter alone, eventually finishing with 126 yards on 19 carries and three touchdowns.

7. On Wisconsin’s first drive, Sherer threw a lateral pass to David Gilreath, which fell incomplete. Apparently not realizing it was a live football, Richard Council decided to throw a hit on Gilreath instead of picking up the football. Not smart. Isaac Anderson recovered for the Badgers.

8. Again on Wisconsin’s first drive, Bielema elected to go for it on 4th-and-7. Gutsy call from an embattled head coach. The risky move paid off, as Sherer hit Zach Brown for a 16-yard completion. The call was an early indication that Bielema did not believe that Indiana’s banged-up defense could stop his offense. Bielema would be proven correct multiple times as the game continued.

9. On the first play after the 4th-and-7 conversion, P.J. Hill gained eight yards when he should have been tackled for a loss. This is indicative of the way Hill ran all day, with a freshness and an escapability missing for much of the season.

10. After Hill’s first touchdown made the score 6-0, meek chants of “block that kick” before the PAT attempt were heard from the woefully under-capacity crowd of 30,618. Either the chant was sarcastic, or the Indiana fans were that desperate for something — anything — positive from their team. The kick was good, the fans resumed their silence, which they practiced for most of the afternoon (especially the second half). This silence surely helped the visitors.

11. The Badgers were only assessed three penalties for 35 penalty yards all game, a far cry from the 12 penalties for 121 yards they amassed last week as they imploded against Michigan State. Only one penalty — a roughing the passer call on defensive end Matt Shaughnessy on Indiana’s first drive that allowed Indiana to continue an eventual scoring drive — proved relevant.

12. The Badgers were able to force Indiana into a lot of third-and-longs. Indiana, 10th in the Big Ten in third-down conversion, ended the day a measly 4-for-17 on third downs and zero-for-4 on fourth downs. Wisconsin, meanwhile, finished the game 5-for-10 on third down and a perfect 2-for-2 on fourth downs.

13. The Indiana defense could not stop the end-around runs from wide receiver David Gilreath. Gilreathfinished the day with a monster 168 rushing yards on only eight carries for an average of 21 yards per carry. The average was aided by a 90-yard TD run in the third quarter that was the second-longest run in Wisconsin football history. Did I mention Gilreath is a wide receiver?

14. Wisconsin was consistently able to limit the Indiana receivers to next-to-zero yards after catch. That’s YAC to those of you scoring at home.

15. After Indiana was able to cut Wisconsin’s lead to 14-10 in the second quarter, the Badgers’ Mario Goins fumbled the kickoff, giving Indiana the ball at Wisconsin’s 16-yard line. The defense allowed not a single yard, and Indiana had to settle for a 23-yard field goal. A classic example of a “moral victory.”

16. On Wisconsin’s very next drive, Dustin Sherer is intercepted by Indiana’s Donnell Jones. Again Wisconsin is able to hold off the momentum swing, as Indiana gets no points out of the ensuing drive. Their own attempt to convert a 4th-and-7 fails. Classic example #2 of a “moral victory.”

17. Instead of imploding after two straight drives that ended in turnovers, Wisconsin goes on a 11-play, 64-yard drive that featured nine straight runs (including a 4th-and-1 conversion). Gilreath practically walks into the end zone on a lateral pass on the drive’s final play. After taking much criticism for not being able to handle adversity in the team’s Big Ten losses, Wisconsin proved on Saturday that it was willing and able to overcome setbacks.

18. But the setbacks weren’t over. Gilreath, the game’s biggest star, muffed a punt late in the second quarter. Indiana took over at the Wisconsin 15. On the next play, Jay Valai forced a fumble that DeAndre Levy returned 41 yards. The great play by Valai(Wisconsin’s leading tackler with 10 total) set up a field goal and immediately sucked all the life out of Indiana.

19. Wisconsin rushed for 202 yards. In the first half.

20. Because of the Valai hit, Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell was forced out of the game. While no one would mistake Chappellfor Tom Brady, his first-half performance was passable, with 11 completions on 20 attempts for 126 yards and a touchdown. His absence in the second half would greatly diminish Indiana’s offense, as a rotation of three quarterbacks would combine on 2-of-14 passes for 15 yards in the second half.

21.  Indiana punter Chris Hagerupwas blitzed and tackled for a four-yard loss on a third-quarter punt when he attempted to run with the football. While Wisconsin could only muster a field goal out of the great field position, the play was indicative of the total domination that Wisconsin was enjoying by the third quarter.

22. Despite allowing Indiana good field position most of the game — Indiana’s Demetrius McCray finished with a whopping 191 return yards — Wisconsin’s defense held the Hoosiers to just 274 yards of total offense and a paltry 53 yards in the second half.

23. Third-quarter stats: Wisconsin, 176 total yards, Indiana, 31 total yards. Wisconsin outscored Indiana 17-0 in the period.

24. Wisconsin’s Niles Brinkley and Shane Carter were excellent on pass coverage all afternoon, although Carter got away with a clear pass interference in the third quarter. But those are the kinds of calls that dominating teams and players can often get away with. It pays to be good.

25. The Badgers, enjoying an embarrassment of riches at running back, were able to rest P.J. Hill for much of the second half in favor of John Clay. Clay finished with112 yards on 19 carries (most of it in the second half) and one touchdown. Along with Gilreath, the Badgers finished withan unheard-of three players with over 100 yards rushing each.

26. Clay continued to eat up huge chunks of yardage late in the game even when the playcalling was obvious. Indiana could simply do nothing to stop him.

27. Scott Tolzien entered the game in relief of Dustin Sherer and got  a touchdown of his own on a beautiful naked bootleg play that made the final score 55-20. Wisconsin wasn’t trying to run up the score, but did I mention  that Indiana could simply do nothing to stop them?

28. Wisconsin outscored Indiana 31-0 in the second half.

29. Wisconsin finished with 601 total offensive yards, their highest total in almost five years.

30. Wisconsin finished with 441 total rushing yards to Indiana’s 133. Wisconsin, not needing to pass most of the day, even outgained Indiana in the air, 160-141.

31. Wisconsin gained 7.4 yards per offensive play to Indiana’s 3.8 yards per offensive play.

32. Wisconsin enjoyed nearly a ten-minute time of possession advantage over Indiana, 34:13 to 25:47.

33. Wisconsin took on an obviously weaker opponent and, in a manner not seen by Wisconsin fans in quite some time, thoroughly dominated.

34. With two games left, home against a slumping Minnesota and home against non-conference “foe” the Cal Poly Mustangs, Wisconsin can still earn a spot in a bowl game. Not a New Year’s Eve bowl, but it would be a nice comeback on the season, one that should quiet the hoards calling for Bielema’s head.

35. Indiana cheerleaders were seen cheering their team on with the Hoosiers on the wrong end of a 55-20 score. Wisconsin apparently could pummel Indiana in every way imaginable on the field but could not squelch their seemingly un-ending supply of school spirit! Darn you, peppy cheerleaders! Now my list is one short!

Hmm, coming up short. Just like the Packers.


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