Tag Archives: Chris Borland

Four B1G Things vs Nebraska

27 Sep

My Nick Toon jersey is washed, pressed, and folded. My Nebraska vs Wisconsin ticket lays precisely on the counter where I left it a month ago. My preferred pre-game beverages? Chilling in the refrigerator.  All that’s left to do is watch the remaining minutes tick by as Moses’s War creeps closer and closer.

But as the hype and anticipation continue to grow, so does the anxiety that die-hard fans sometimes feel in the waning days before their team squares off with a heavy-weight contender. So, in a (probably futile) effort to help stem the nerves, we’re going to cover one key area per day that the Badgers need to focus on in order to send Nebraska home with a losing B1G record.

Let’s get ‘her crackin’.

One of Four B1G Things: Contain, Contain, Contain

T-Magic, Tres Martinez, T-Mart, Taylor Martinez, whatever you call him,containing the Husker quarterback will be paramount to the success of the Badgers. Sam Oleson said it perfectly when he stated, “The Husker offense goes as Taylor Martinez goes.” He is the life and focal point of the Nebraska attack–both through the air and on the ground. Running the option alongside running back Rex Burkhead, Martinez is a beast in the open field. In space, Martinez is one of the top runners in the country. Don’t believe me? Check the highlights from Martinez vs Kansas State last year during Martinez’s freshman campaign.

That being said, it’s not like Wisconsin has never faced a running, dual-threat quarterback before. Seems to me they did just fine about a year ago in another home-game of epic proportions…

So to stop Martinez, I predict the Badgers to follow a similar game-plan as last year vs Pryor and the Buckeyes. For as dangerous as Martinez is running the rock, he still has a ways to go before mastering the art of the aerial attack. Look for the Badgers to keep a spy (Borland, anyone?) on Martinez and to focus on shutting down the run by stacking the box–forcing Martinez to beat them through the air.

If the Badgers can limit T-Magic’s production on the ground, prevent the big play, and force Martinez to go to the air, Wisconsin will be one step closer to defeating the Huskers.

So sleep tight, Badger fans, and may dreams of Jump Around dance in your heads.

More to come tomorrow.

Mitch Larson

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Grading the Defense: Week 4

26 Sep

Just another day in the life for the nation’s third-best scoring defense.

The Badgers played well enough up front and essentially made the Coyotes one-dimensional. The secondary was stellar, the linebackers made plays, the front four brought pressure, and the collective defensive unit finally began recording take-aways. Here are the individual grades:

Defensive Line: A-

I’m a bit torn about the line’s performance. While they did bring constant pressure and recorded three sacks, they seemed unable to stop the run game, at times. Granted the Coyotes were very one-dimensional in their play-calling and ran the ball 37 times, it still hurts to see 124 rushing yards under the Coyotes’ stat line. Call me a perfectionist, but while it only averages out to 3.4 yards per rush, I think the Badgers front four can improve. And they’ll need to next weekend against the dynamic rushing attack of Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead.

Linebackers: A-

This would be a straight A, but I pass part of the blame for South Dakota’s 124 rushing yards to the linebacking corps. But besides that, the linebackers were effective. Borland continues to demonstrate his knack for making big plays while recording his first interception of the year. The unit also featured the Badgers’ top three tacklers of the day in Mike Taylor, Borland, and Kevin Claxton.

Secondary: A+

Any team who can hold their opposition, no matter how bad, to less than 50 yards through the air deserves mad props. When Nick Toon can out-gain the Coyotes in one play, you know the secondary was on top of their game. Cromartie seems to be fitting in well with the unit and they collectively appear confident to move on to their next challenge.

It’s awfully hard to complain about a defense that has given up 8.5 ppg through the first four match-ups, but the Badgers must continue to improve before their anticipated match-up with the Huskers. Can’t wait.

On Wisconsin.

-Mitch Larson