Sunday, December 6, 2009
Badgers lead 27-3 after dominant first half
By ESPN.com staff
Bret Bielema has to be pleased with his team's response from a tough loss to Northwestern on Nov. 21.
Hawaii was a hot team entering tonight's game, having beaten Navy last week, but you wouldn't know it after the first half. The Warriors look pretty awful, while Wisconsin has dominated almost every area of the game. When kicker Philip Welch's continued struggles are your biggest problem, you're in pretty good shape.
As expected, Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year John Clay is running all over Hawaii, racking up 111 rush yards and two scores in the opening half. But as has been the case for most of the year, Wisconsin is showing balance on offense. Quarterback Scott Tolzien looks extremely efficient, and wide receiver David Gilreath turned in an excellent first half, continuing his solid finish after some speed bumps earlier in the fall.
The offense shows no signs of slowing down, but the most encouraging development for Bielema has to be the defense. The front four is controlling the line of scrimmage, making Bryant Moniz's night very, very rough. We already know about O'Brien Schofield, but I'm very impressed with J.J. Watt and Louis Nzegwu as well. Hawaii can't do anything once it crosses the midfield stripe, and the Warriors will need a major surge to get back in this game.
If Wisconsin completes the blowout, it should get into the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 against Auburn, with a chance to win its 10th game.
I'll check in with more in the morning, as we count down to the bowl selections.