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Saturday, September 18, 2010
Special teams the story so far in Madison

By Adam Rittenberg

MADISON, Wis. -- The kicking game has been huge so far at Camp Randall Stadium.

We've already seen three field goal attempts, one conversion by Wisconsin, misses by each team, and an electrifying kick return for a touchdown by Arizona State's Omar Bolden. Wisconsin ranked 119th nationally in kickoff coverage a year ago, and the problems have continued.

The Sun Devils' speed really seems to be giving the Badgers trouble right now, as ASU leads 7-3.

Wisconsin easily marched into Arizona State territory on its first two possessions behind its running backs and the Scott Tolzien-Lance Kendricks connection. But the Sun Devils' defense tightened up both times, forcing two lengthy field goal attempts, the second of which Philip Welch converted for a 3-0 lead.

Arizona State's speed on offense seemed to put Wisconsin back on its heels, as the fast tempo and fast running backs moved the ball downfield. But after losing standout linebacker Chris Borland to a left shoulder injury -- Borland underwent offseason surgery on his right shoulder and missed last week's game after tweaking it against UNLV -- the Badgers made some nice plays in the red zone. Borland's return is uncertain.