Tag Archives: Northwestern Wildcats

Recap: Northwestern Wildcats Defeat Wisconsin Badgers, 13-7

BY JEFF BERNIER

Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

In their most important matchup of the year, the Wisconsin Badgers (8-3, 5-2 Big Ten) did not bring their best stuff Saturday to Camp Randall Stadium when they faced off against the Northwestern Wildcats (9-2, 5-2 Big Ten). The Badgers turned the ball over a season high five times. Most of them were also absolute momentum killers. And in the end, the Badgers just could not overcome all of their mistakes, falling in a heartbreaker to the Wildcats on senior day, 13-7.

Several questionable calls by the referees also hurt the home team tremendously. A punt returned for a touchdown was called back in the third quarter and a game winning touchdown with 24 seconds remaining was also negated.

The Badgers were clearly the better team on Saturday, but they simply beat themselves. Credit is due for the Northwestern defense, who contained the Badgers formidable run game, that featured Corey Clement, Dare Ogunbowale, and Taiwan Deal who were all available for just the second game this season.

The Badgers first half went something like this. They would punt four times, lose a fumble, and throw an interception. Wisconsin would total just 50 yards of offense in the first half as Northwestern took a 10-0 lead into intermission, behind a Justin Jackson eight yard scoring run, and a Jack Mitchell 35 yard field goal.

It was the Wildcats defense who stopped the run in this game. The Badgers were held to -19 yards rushing in the first 30 minutes. Joel Stave was credited with -46 yards rushing in the half, completing negating the 27 positive yards gained by Corey Clement and Taiwan Deal. It was the worst half of football running the ball in recent memory for Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Badgers defense, not to be outdone on their own turf by a hungry Northwestern Wildcats defense, made one of the biggest plays of the game coming out of the halftime break. Facing a fourth and 1 from the Wisconsin 35 yard line, the Badgers defense was able to win the battle up front and stuff Warren Long for a one yard loss, resulting in a turnover on downs.

Wisconsin v. Northwestern

The Badgers would follow immediately with a 5 play 64 yard touchdown drive, making it 10-7 Wildcats. Joel Stave made two perfect throws to Jazz Peavy, one for 16 yards and one gem for 42 yards that put the Badgers inside the Wildcats 10 yard line. Corey Clement would go beast-mode from there, dragging a defender over the goal line for the Badgers first touchdown on the day.

Following a Northwestern punt, senior Alex Erickson would field it on a few hops and take it all the way to the house, sending Camp Randall Stadium into pandemonium as the Badgers took the lead. But not so fast … The referees would call the play back, citing an illegal fair catch motion by Erickson. It was a strange call, as replays showed Erickson to simply be waving off his teammates as he waited for the football.

The blown call negated the electric play, and the Badgers would later punt on the drive. It was a huge call, as the Badgers offense was stifled the rest of the afternoon. The Badgers appeared to be overcome with frustration as a result of the call back.

Despite the bevy of turnovers, and missed opportunities, the Badgers were driving for the win with less than two minutes to play. Stave would complete a pass to tight end Troy Fumagalli over the middle for 22 yards to the Wildcats 1 yard line. The play was initially ruled a touchdown but replays showed his knee was down just short of the goal line.

On first and goal, Stave connected with Jazz Peavy in the right flat of the end zone as Peavy tumbled to the ground. It appeared Northwestern’s valiant effort would fall just short. However, upon review, the touchdown was overturned as the referees said the receiver did not complete the catch process as he went to the ground.

A controversial play call made famous by NFL stars Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson was the final nail in the coffin for the Badgers. An untimely sack on Stave lead to a quick spike, setting up a fourth and goal.

With Stave hurt on the sack. Bart Houston was summoned with the game on the line. It appeared he had Tanner McEvoy who dived for the Houston throw over the middle, but the ball was just overthrown, falling haplessly incomplete.

Wisconsin v. Northwestern

Northwestern did outgain the Badgers with 211 yards of offense to 205 for Wisconsin. The Badgers finished the day with negative 26 yards rushing, easily their worst rush attack in any game in recent memory.

The Badgers, who have struggled at times on third down, finished the afternoon just 2-13, compounding their inability to keep drives alive versus a motivated Wildcats defense.

Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson threw for just 61 yards. The player of the game for the Wildcats was running back Justin Jackson, who carved up the Badgers top ranked defense to the tune of 139 yards and a touchdown.

The most important statistic for Northwestern was the turnover margin. Northwestern did not turn the ball over once versus the Badgers turnover machining defense.

Stave was clutch down the stretch, but the sack taken under 20 seconds sealed the Badgers fate. Stave finished the game with 231 yards and two interceptions. Clement, the Badgers top rusher, gained just 24 yards on his 10 carries.

It was always going to be a tall order, but with the loss Saturday, the Badgers are officially eliminated from Big Ten contention. They will instead turn their attention to next Saturday will the will head to Minnesota to face a Golden Gophers team one win away from Bowl eligibility.

The Axe will also be on the line. That game kicks off at 2:30 pm Central.

 

Photos: Wisconsin Badgers v. Northwestern Wildcats

BY TER STAFF

Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

Today winter came early, as we traveled to Camp Randall Stadium to watch the Wisconsin Badgers take on the Northwestern Wildcats in a chilly showdown. With five turnovers in the game, Wisconsin still had a chance to win it in the end, but coming short on the last play of the game and a few questionable calls led to a Wildcat victory, 13-7. Check out our game recap here!

Continue reading Photos: Wisconsin Badgers v. Northwestern Wildcats

Preview: Wisconsin Badgers Host Northwestern Wildcats

BY JEFF BERNIER

Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

The injury bug hasn’t just bitten the Wisconsin Badgers (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten) this season, it has burrowed into them and feasted. All season long, the Badgers have been decimated by injuries. The picture becomes a little clearer on Saturday as offensive minded tight end Austin Traylor and star running back Corey Clement are expected back when Wisconsin hosts the streaking Northwestern Wildcats (8-2, 4-2 Big Ten).

While Northwestern does head into their matchup with the Badgers on a three game winning streak, there are some questions about the legitimacy of the Wildcats #20 national ranking. The three game winning streak came after an 0-2 stretch that saw them lose to both Michigan and Iowa by a combined score of 78-10.

How they perform will go a long way in determining the Wildcats stay amongst the 25 nationally ranked teams. Ditto for the Wisconsin Badgers. Wisconsin does have the same record as Northwestern but sports a better conference record.

Despite allowing 24 points two weeks ago in their matchup at Maryland, the Badgers feature one of the nation’s stingiest defenses. Before the hiccup at College Park, the Badgers were allowing just 11 points per game to their opponents.

Northwestern, who has struggled mightily in recent weeks in terms of their aerial attack, will need a spirited effort from its freshman quarterback to have a shot in Madison on Saturday.

Clayton Thorson is just 14/27 for 140 yards passing, no touchdowns and an interception over his last two games. He remains a threat to run however averaging over 6 yards per carry over those same two games.

The ground is where the game will probably have to be won for Northwestern. No small feat considering the Badgers run defense is one of the most dominant in the country. Wildcats tailback Justin Jackson is third in the conference in rushing with 1,033 yards on the season, averaging a solid 4.6 yards per carry. The sophomore has racked up 302 of those yards in his last three games.

With Corey Clement back in the fold for Wisconsin, the Badgers have the clear advantage from the half back position heading into Saturday afternoon’s matchup. Dare Ogunbowale has done a fine job filling in for the oft-injured Clement. Alec Ingold, the Badgers goal-line weapon has too helped ease the pain of Clement’s absences.

Badgers senior quarterback Joel Stave will also benefit from the return of Clement, as he seems to be more comfortable with Clement in the game. It also provides Stave with another weapon through the air as Clement has become more adept at catching passes out of the backfield and turning them into net gains.

The way football games used to be won back in the day was pound the ball on the ground, play smash mouth defense while winning the field position game with solid special teams play. This old school style will be the key to victory for either team Saturday.

Turnovers will also be a key factor. Both teams take pretty good care of the football, but the Badgers defense turns other teams over at a spectacular rate, so the Wildcats will have to protect the football to have a shot. Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald believes it to be the biggest key to his team’s success.

“Don’t turn the ball over. That’s the bottom line,” said Fitzgerald.

The Badgers, who have made a name for themselves in how dominant they have been running the football in recent years, have found ways to win this season throwing the football. And that is a credit to Joel Stave, who despite missing three quarters of the game at Illinois, has been one of the few constants for Wisconsin and company this season.

His steady if unspectacular play from the quarterback position has not been lost on Pat Fitzgerald, who knows he’ll have to game plan for Stave just as much as Clement and Ogunbowale.

“Been really impressed by Joel. I think he’s really had a terrific season,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s had to shoulder a lot with the running back situation with guys being out … tight ends being out. But Joel has been the one consistent, really impressive aspect of what they’re doing offensively.”

Wisconsin defeated Northwestern 35-6 in their most recent matchup October 12, 2013.

The home team has won the last eight matchups in the Badgers meetings with the Wildcats.

Prediction: Wisconsin 31, Northwestern 9

Game time: Saturday, November 21, 2:30 PM on BTN, BTN2; Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI