Today we traveled to Camp Randall Stadium to see the No. 22 ranked Wisconsin Badgers host the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. While Hawaii’s defense gave Wisconsin more of a challenge than its last couple opponents, Wisconsin defense again stole the show, shutting out Hawaii for a 28-0 victory.
Read our game recap here and check out our photos from the Saturday night showdown at Camp Randall below.
There’s something about playing under the bright lights for a night game that can bring out the best in teams and players. The stage-like atmosphere is an adrenaline rush. The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (2-2) and the Wisconsin Badgers (3-1) squared off at Camp Randall Stadium on a mild 70 degree Saturday night. Feeding off a frenzied college crowd, the Badgers made it three wins in a row as they defeated the Rainbow Warriors 28-0.
Hawaii received the opening kickoff. After a huge sack on a safety blitz by Wisconsin resulting in a 10-yard loss on second down, Hawaii was looking at a long third down. On third down and 15, senior quarterback Max Wittek was able to convert out of the pistol formation on a 27-yard strike to Quinton Pedroza near midfield.
On the next set of downs, the Rainbow Warriors promptly went three and out, having to punt to Wisconsin. Unlike their first two home games in which they struggled mightily on their opening possession, Wisconsin put together a very Badger-like drive. They pounded the ball with authority with Dare Ogunbowale and Taiwan Deal, the Badgers new top rushing tandem. Wisconsin capped their first possession with a 2-yard rush into the heart of Hawaii’s defense for the game’s first touchdown.
Hawaii features a 3-4 defense which is a rarity these days in college football. And maybe that was the key, as the Rainbow Warriors defense gave the Badgers fits the entire first half, surrendering just 14 points.
It would have been only seven, save for a late touchdown by Wisconsin with just 38 seconds remaining.
The Badgers defense forced a Rainbow Warriors punt with just 2:11 remaining in the first half. Badgers senior quarterback Joel Stave was just 4-10 passing to that point. Stave would go 4-4 on the final drive of the half, leading the Badgers down the field for a nine play 73 yard scoring drive that made it 14-0 after two quarters of play.
With Taiwan Deal looking unstoppable all half, it was Stave who lead the crucial drive in the final minutes of the first half.
Facing third down and 2 from their own 47-yard line, it was Deal who sprinted for a 17-yard gainer to keep the drive alive. After a holding penalty on first down, making it first and 20, Stave completed consecutive passes of 12 and 9 yards for another first down. A perfectly thrown ball from Stave to Erickson, which resulted in a defensive passing interference call in the end zone, set up Deal’s second two yard touchdown run.
With both teams struggling to score despite getting into each other’s territory in the second half, it was the Badgers who broke through late in the third when Stave connected with senior tight end Austin Traylor. Traylor has succeeded Robert Wheelwright as Stave’s favorite target in the red zone.
The pass and catch play came on third down and 11. It was a big play for Wisconsin to gain a little breathing room over Hawaii as they hadn’t been able to pull away to that point. That play sealed it for Wisconsin.
The Badgers defense has been absolutely dominant over the past three games. They haven’t surrendered a single touchdown in their last 12 quarters of play, giving up a total of three points in their last three games played.
They held the Rainbow Warriors to just 15 yards rushing on Saturday night; this after holding Miami (OH) and Troy to a combined 78 yards on the ground.
Paul Harris had just 22 yards on 6 carries. Quarterback Max Wittek was effective, finishing 189 yards passing. Hawaii just couldn’t finish the job when they got into the red zone.
Freshman back Taiwan Deal was the man on this night for the Badgers. Deal rushed for 147 yards on 26 carries, getting into the end zone twice.
Dare Ogunbowale played second fiddle this week and chipped in with 85 yards on 15 carries. Ogunbowale put the cherry on top for the Badgers with a 9-yard pitch carry for the last points of the game.
Stave had a quiet game after two brilliant efforts against Miami (OH) and Troy. The senior finished 14/23 for 164 yards and a touchdown. Stave and the Badgers did not turn the ball over.
Senior Alex Erickson had a big day for Wisconsin, catching 9 passes for 87 yards. Many of the catches kept drives alive for Stave and company.
The Badgers have hummed right along without their star running back Corey Clement. Things may be different once conference play begins for the Badgers next week. Will the Badgers continue to pass as much as they have been? Can Ogunbowale and Deal remain this effective when the quality of opponents ramp up? Head coach Paul Chryst and the Badgers certainly hope so.
The Wisconsin Badgers will now turn its attention to next week, where they will finally begin conference play when they host the Iowa Hawkeyes (4-0) at Camp Randall Stadium at 11:00 am Eastern. The game will be broadcast on both ABC and ESPN networks.
The Wisconsin Badgers (2-1) seem to be biding their time prior to conference play beginning in just two weeks, taking care of business against both Miami (Ohio) and Troy after their solid effort versus Alabama in week one.
The Badgers final pre-conference-play test will come against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (2-1) this Saturday night (7:00 pm Central) from Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin.
The team received some unfavorable news this week when it was announced star running back Corey Clement will now be out four to six weeks due to sports hernia surgery. Clement has not played a snap since week one against Alabama, sidelined with a groin issue.
It’s a good thing the Badgers have this guy named Joel Stave. The senior has been brilliant thus far, powering Wisconsin with a robust and diverse passing attack; a strange site in the Capitol after years of dominating opponents on the ground. This allows for far more options from the team’s playbook.
“We’ve done a good job at pushing the chains a little bit and get bigger runs on first down,” Stave said Monday. “In doing that, you open up your playbook.”
Stave has been even more impressive inside opponent territory, racking up 227 yards and six touchdowns versus no interceptions when throwing inside the opponent 40-yard line.
Dare Ogunbowale and Taiwan Deal will now continue to shoulder the load in the Badgers ground game. Seen as temporary fill-ins, the tandem will now be counted on well into conference play. The two have combined for 339 yards rushing in three games.
Look for the pair, as well as Stave, to have a big day. The Rainbow Warriors have allowed a staggering 381 yards per game to their opponents.
Hawaii senior quarterback Max Wittek is coming off one of his best games as a collegiate, throwing for a career high 272 yards at a nearly 71% completion rate. Wittek also threw for two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Junior wide receiver Marcus Kemp is a player to watch. The six-foot-4 Kemp will be a tough matchup for the Badgers, coming off a five reception 119 yard effort in Hawaii’s 47-27 victory over UC-Davis last week.
Opposing Ogunbowale and Deal on the ground for Hawaii will be running back Paul Harris. The junior is also coming off a brilliant effort last week, racking up 141 yards on just 11 carries.
The Badgers run defense has been dominant so far this season, so Harris will have to earn his keep.
Hawaii is seen as a very physical, hard-hitting team. Badgers head coach Paul Chryst has seen the game tape. He knows what to expect when the Rainbow Warriors suit up at Camp Randall Stadium Saturday night.
“I think it’s one of their strengths,” said Chryst. “I think they’re a team that loves the physical part of the game and they’ve got some guys that — I think their schemes play to that and I think they’ve got some really good football players.”
Wisconsin leads the all-time series against Hawaii five games to one.
Saturday night’s game will mark just the second time the Rainbow Warriors have every played in Madison.
Prediction:Wisconsin 38, Hawaii 14
Game time: Saturday, September 19, 7:00 PM CT on BTN, BTN2; Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI (Buy Tickets)
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