Big second half lifts Wisconsin to 45-24 win over MichiganPublished 10:12am Monday, November 16, 2009
MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin scored on three straight second-half possessions to defeat the University of Michigan football team by a 45-24 score on Saturday (Nov. 14) before a crowd of 80,540 at Camp Randall Stadium. The Wolverines trailed by four points at half and again late in the third quarter, but the Badgers controlled the clock on all seven scoring drives.
Wisconsin (No. 21 AP/No. 20 USA Today) took their opening possession and marched 80 yards in five plays to take a 7-0 lead. The scoring play came on a 22-yard pass from Tolzien to tight end Garrett Graham on a third-and-six play. The Badgers opened the drive with a 27-yard pass play to wide receiver Isaac Anderson and 15 yards were added on a roughing-the-passer call that moved the ball to Michigan’s 38-yard line. Tolzien added a 12-yard run followed by a pair of two-yard runs by John Clay prior to the scoring play.
The Wolverines answered the Badgers’ TD and knotted the score at 7-7 on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Tate Forcier to Vincent Smith in the right flat. It was the first career receiving touchdown and reception for Smith. The Wolverines moved 74 yards in 11 plays, with Forcier completing all three passes for 53 yards. Michigan converted two third downs, first on a 14-yard run by Minor and the second on a 26-yard pass play from Forcier to Roundtree on third-and-24 from Wisconsin’s 49-yard line.
Michigan gained excellent field possession at the Badgers’ 37-yard line but was unable to capitalize. The Wolverines came up empty on a 19-yard field goal try as J.J. Watt blocked the attempt by Jason Olesnavage. The Wolverines had a first-and-goal but were unable to punch the ball into the end zone. Smith had an 18-yard catch and rushed twice for nine yards and tailback Brandon Minor carried the ball three times for eight yards on the series.
The defense held firm again as redshirt freshman Jordan Kovacs intercepted Tolzien’s third-down pass at Wisconsin’s 25-yard line with two seconds remaining in the first quarter. The Wolverines were unable to gain a first down but gained the lead, 10-7, on a 37-yard field goal by Olesnavage at 14:16 of the second stanza. The four-play, six-yard drive took 51 seconds.
The Badgers regained the lead, 14-10, on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Tolzein to wide receiver Nick Toon on an out-route in the right corner of the end zone. Wisconsin’s scoring drive covered 75 yards in 14 plays and consumed 5:42. The Wolverines forced a punt but were flagged for roughing the punter to keep the Badgers’ drive alive. Clay contributed five carries for 30 yards on the drive.
Michigan’s defense came through with a scoring play as Van Bergen scooped up a fumble and returned it 14 yards for a touchdown. The play was set up when Graham sacked Tolzien and stripped him of the ball on third-and-10. Van Bergen scored his first career TD to give the Wolverines a 17-14 lead at 3:46 of the second quarter.
The Badgers answered and regained the halftime advantage, 21-17, on a one-yard run by Clay. Wisconsin gained Michigan territory at U-M’s 26-yard line following a 36-yard pass from Tolzien to Toon. Tolzien found an open Graham for 23 yards on the very next play to set up a first-and-goal situation at the three-yard line. Clay gained two yards on the first play and barely crossed the goal line for the go-ahead score.
Wisconsin took the opening kickoff of the second half and pushed the lead to 28-17 on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Tolzien to Toon on third-and-10. The Badgers moved 80 yards in 10 plays, with Tolzien completing four-of-six passes for 68 yards. Clay started the drive with a 21-yard run and Toon grabbed three passes for 53 yards on the drive, including his second receiving TD of the game.
Michigan continued to fight back and answered the Badgers’ score with a 10-yard TD pass from Forcier to Roundtree at 6:59 of the third quarter. Forcier completed all five passes for 49 yards on the eight-play, 60-yard drive and Smith gained 11 yards on the ground.
The Badgers regained the double-digit margin with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Tolzien to tight end Lance Kendricks at 2:08 of third stanza and pushed the lead to 42-24 with a one-yard keeper by Tolzien at 11:00 of the fourth quarter. Wisconsin added a 28-yard field goal by Philip Welch to finish the scoring.
Forcier completed 20-of-26 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns. Redshirt freshman receiver Roy Roundtree and freshman tailback Smith (Pahokee, Fla./Pahokee HS) led the receiving effort with seven catches each. Roundtree gained 56 yards and Smith 54 yards and both players caught TD passes from Forcier. Smith had eight carries for 38 yards.
Defensively, defensive end Brandon Graham led the defense with a career-best 11 tackles and five tackles for loss, including two sacks and a forced fumble that led to a defensive touchdown by defensive tackle Ryan Van Bergen on a 14-yard fumble return.
Kovacs added 10 stops and defensive tackle Mike Martin posted a career-high 10 tackles and three TFLs.