The title of this blog might have some of you a little bit confused looking at the final score of Wisconsin-Marshall game, but it's a very fitting title in my opinion.
In the first quarter we looked bad. I couldn't have thought up a worse start for us. Down 14-0 after the 1st quarter, wow that is horrible. At the start of the second quarter things weren't looking a whole lot better. We just seemed to be really confused by Marshall not being intimidated by us. Also, the fact that we've got Fresno State next week..and I'm pretty sure the start was just us looking ahead to them.
Week 1 against Akron we were strictly a run team and that allowed Marshall to just stack 8 in the box and only worry about our run game. In our first game we didn't show a whole lot as far as passing the ball..and that really helped Marshall out as far as there defensive game plan. Early on we tried to pass a bit more but Allan Evridge started out 0-4..and our run game was non-exsistent against Marshall. As awful as we were early on that's how good Marshall was..we got burned by a few plays by there star wide out Darius Passmore(I was kinda hoping he would be Marshall's quarterback and that they would be a wishbone or option team offensively..oh well). There quarterback Mark Cann had a solid first quarter and a solid first half to the second quarter. After that the wheels sort of fell of for him. He blew a shot for Marshall to get a field goal and tie the game up at 17 at half time..by not calling time out right away. In the second quarter I felt like we really found our stride offensively..it started off with Allan Evridge completing a nice relatively deep pass to Lance Kendricks..which really set up our confidence offensively as well as defensively. So we went into the half up 17-14 and we were really getting our confidence back as a football team.
Then came the second half where not only were we gaining back all of our confidence but, the wheels were falling off for Marshall. A pair of intereceptions by Niles Brinkley and an interception by Shane Carter really helped us out quite a bit. Also the fact that Allan Evridge started to gain some confidence and completed some nice passes and got in a rhythm. Evridge's ability to pass really opened up our run game. While none of our backs had the same quality of game that they had against Akron our run game was still effective. All four of our backs who look to get carries this year scored..that includes walk-on freshman Bradie Ewing...as well as the guys who I've been hyping for a while now: PJ Hill, Zach Brown and John Clay. The second half was essentially us flexing our muscles and sending a statement...this is a resiliant, tough, physical football team. While Marshall isn't necessarily a Big 10 quality football team they still gave us a fight and we still had to show some mental toughness. We ended up score 51 unanswered points....that's repeatable..51 unanswered points.
Earlier in the week Marshall's coach, Mark Snyder, talked about wanting to come in here and play Big 10 football. When coach Bielema heard about this his response was, and as I always do I'm paraphrasing here, we'll show them how it's done. For a while it seemed like Marshall would just dominate this game..but luckily we rose up to the challenge and for about 2 and a half quarters we dominated Marshall. Plus next week when we pay a visit to Fresno State, the Bulldogs won't just be able to stack 8 man up and stop the run..we'll be able to be much more balanced offensively when we go in there because they won't be able to just focus on stopping one thing. Hopefully we get Travis Beckum and Jonathan Cassilas back next week..Bret Bielema is pretty quiet about these things, but we'll see. As always go cardinal and white!