2008 Wisconsin Badgers Season
Wisconsin RB P.J. Hill
Wisconsin RB P.J. Hill
Posted Feb 4, 2009

2008 Wisconsin Badgers Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews

2008 Wisconsin Badgers

Dec. 27
2008 Champs Sports Bowl
Florida State 42 … Wisconsin 13

Derek Nicholson took a batted ball 75 yards for a touchdown for the first of two long FSU defensive scores, the second being a 51-yard fumble recovery for a score from Dakota Watson, and Christian Ponder threw two touchdown passes in the rout. The Badgers kept the game close in the first half, but the Noles managed to go 47 yards in the final minute of the first half with a 15-yard Greg Carr catch with seven seconds to play to take the lead for good. The Noles answered a 41-yard Philip Welch field goal with a 28-point scoring run starting off with a six-yard Antone Smith touchdown run. The Badgers finally got into the end zone on a 20-yard Elijah Theus caught with just over four minutes to play.
Player of the game: Florida State P/PK Graham Gano averaged 48.2 yards per punt on five punts with four put inside the 20 and two at the one.  
Stat Leaders: Wisconsin - Passing: Dustin Sherer, 9-16, 132 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: P.J. Hill, 15-140. Receiving: Garrett Graham, 3-62
Florida State - Passing: Christian Ponder, 18-31, 199 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Carlton Jones, 4-55, 1 TD. Receiving: Greg Carr, 8-78, 1 TD
Inside The Box Score ... 5 Thoughts on the Champs Sports Bowl …Third down conversions: FSU 10-of-17 – UW 2-of-10 … Time of possession: FSU 35:08 – UW 24.52. … Turnovers: UW 3 (all fumbles) – FSU 0 … Wisconsin's average starting field position in the first half: its own 1. … Derek Nicholson had two recovered fumbles for FSU.

- 2008 Badger Preview
2007 Badger Season

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2008 Record: 7-

Aug. 30 Akron W 38-17
Sept. 6 Marshall W 51-14
Sept. 13 at Fresno St W 13-10
Sept. 20 OPEN DATE 
Sept. 27 at Michigan L 27-25
Oct. 4 Ohio State L 20-17
Oct. 11 Penn State L 48-7
Oct. 18 at Iowa L 38-16
Oct. 25 Illinois W 27-17
Nov. 1 at Michigan State L 25-24
Nov. 8 at Indiana W 55-20
Nov. 15 Minnesota W 35-32
Nov. 22 Cal Poly W 36-35 OT
Champs Sports Bowl
Dec. 27 Florida State L 42-13

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2007 Record:

Sept. 1 Wash State W 42-21
Sept. 8 at UNLV W 20-13
Sept. 15 The Citadel W 45-31
Sept. 22 Iowa W 17-13
Sept. 29 Michigan State W 37-34
Oct. 6 at Illinois L 31-26
Oct. 13 at Penn State L 38-7
Oct. 20 Northern Illinois W 44-3
Oct. 27 Indiana W 33-3
Nov. 3 at Ohio State L 38-17
Nov. 10
Michigan W 37-21
Nov. 17 at Minnesota W 41-34
Outback Bowl
Jan. 1 Tennessee L 21-17

Nov. 22
Wisconsin 36 …Cal Poly 35 OT
Wisconsin needed a miracle to overcome Cal Poly, and it got it with three missed extra points by Andrew Gardner and a badly missed last second field goal attempt at the end of regulation. The Mustang running game confounded the Badgers for 276 yards, and in overtime, Ramses Barden caught a 25-yard touchdown pass for the lead. But Gardner's missed extra point opened the door, and Wisconsin kicked it in with a six-yard John Clay touchdown run to tie it, and Philip Welch hit the extra point for the win. The Badgers needed a late drive just to force overtime with P.J. Hill running for his second touchdown of the second half with just under two minutes to play.
Player of the game: Wisconsin RB John Clay ran 11 times for 107 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Cal Poly - Passing: Jonathan Dally, 8-16, 95 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Jonathan Dally, 23-118, 1 TD. Receiving: Ramses Barden, 6-83, 1 TD
Wisconsin - Passing: Dustin Sherer, 13-22, 245 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: John Clay, 11-107, 2 TD. Receiving: David Gilreath, 4-125
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Wisconsin didn't have a clue. The defense was completely and totally lost when it came to slowing down the Cal Poly offense, while the Badger offense got stopped just enough to keep from taking control of the game. When push came to shove, the UW line pushed and shoved. Cal Poly held on to the ball for almost 40 minutes, and that can't happen for the Badgers to be effective. This has been a rough season, but now the team is going bowling with a chance to redeem itself … somewhat.  

Nov. 15
Wisconsin 35 … Minnesota 32
In a tale of two halves, Wisconsin overcame a 21-7 deficit with two one-yard touchdown runs from P.J. Hill and two safeties within a three minutes span with a special teams error on a punt and a sack of Adam Weber in the end zone. A five-yard John Clay touchdown run gave the Badgers some breathing room, but the Gophers wouldn't go away. Shady Salamon caught 13-yard touchdown pass with 4:15 to play to pull Minnesota within three, but the Badger defense was able to hang on late. Adam Weber threw two touchdown passes and ran for a score in the second quarter for the Gophers.
Player of the game: Wisconsin RB P.J. Hill ran 24 times for 117 yards and two touchdowns, and he caught two passes for 11 yards
Stat Leaders: Minnesota - Passing: Adam Weber, 15-30, 202 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Adam Weber, 11-43, 1 TD. Receiving: Brandon Green, 5-80, 1 TD
Wisconsin - Passing: Dustin Sherer, 18-31, 242 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: P.J. Hill, 24-117, 2 TD. Receiving: Isaac Anderson, 6-114

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The win over Minnesota was subdued a wee bit due to concern over WR Kyle Jefferson, who took a huge shot and had to be carted off the field. As it turns out, he's fine but has a severe concussion. Dustin Sherer struggled in the first half, but unlike past weeks for the Badgers, he, along with the team, geared it up and blasted away in the second half for the win. The defense continues to struggle a bit, it's not going to be an elite D by any means this season, but it came up with the big stops when needed. Now that UW is bowl eligible, it can solidify a decent spot by beating Cal Poly and getting to 7-5.

Nov. 8
Wisconsin 55 … Indiana 20
Wisconsin tore off 441 rushing yards and 601 yards of total offense with three players David Gilreath, P.J. Hill, and John Clay each rushing for more than 100 yards. Hill rumbled in for two short first quarter scores and ripped off a 19-yard scoring dash in the fourth quarter, while Gilreath ran for a 90-yard score on Wisconsin's first play from scrimmage in the second half after running for an eight-yard score earlier in the second quarter. Indiana tried to keep up with a 43-yard Andre Means touchdown catch in the first quarter and a one-yard Ben Chappell touchdown dive making it 21-20 UW, but the Badgers scored 34 unanswered points.
Player of the game: The entire Wisconsin offensive line for paving the way for 441 rushing yards, seven rushing scores, and a 7.2 yard-per-carry average.
Stat Leaders: Indiana - Passing: Ben Chappell, 11-20, 126 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Demetrius McCray, 9-53. Receiving: Terrance Turner, 5-33
Wisconsin - Passing: Dustin Sherer, 10-19, 143 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: David Gilreath, 8-168, 2 TD. Receiving: Garrett Graham, 5-69
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Now that's what Wisconsin is supposed to do. Indiana had its chances to turn the momentum around with some good scores in the first half, but the Badgers kept pounding and pounding some more. The Hoosier linebackers didn't have a prayer of stopping P.J. Hill and John Clay, who battered and bruised their way to big days, while Dustin Sherer made a few decent throws and managed to get out of everyone's way. The defense is going to be mediocre all year. It's not going to magically start jelling at this point, but it might not have to for the Badgers to beat Minnesota and Cal Poly.

Nov. 1
Michigan State 25 … Wisconsin 24
Michigan State was all but dead as Wisconsin just needed to get a first down to run the clock out, but a penalty, the 12th of the game for the Badgers, provided new life, and Brian Hoyer came through. The Spartans marched 56 yards in 1:12 with Brett Swenson hitting a 44-yard field goal for the game-winner. Swenson nailed three other field goals, including a 50 yarder with just over five minutes to play. Wisconsin held MSU to 25 net rushing yards, but Javon Ringer ran for two, two-yard touchdowns. The Badger ground game got 100 yard days from both P.J. Hill and John Clay, with Hill running for a 10-yard touchdown and Clay scoring on a 32-yard run in the fourth quarter before MSU scored 12 unanswered points in the final 8:13.
Player of the game: Michigan State PK Brett Swenson hit all four of his field goal attempts from 27, 21, 50, and the game-winner from 44 yards out
Stat Leaders: Wisconsin - Passing: Dustin Sherer, 14-28, 149 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: John Clay, 14-111, 1 TD. Receiving: Garrett Graham, 6-68, 1 TD
Michigan State - Passing: Brian Hoyer, 19-44, 252 yds
Rushing: Javon Ringer, 21-54, 2 TD. Receiving: Blair White, 7-164
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The loss to Michigan State wasn't like the Michigan collapse for the Badgers, but it wasn't far off. 12 penalties for 121 yards proved to be a killer, and the inability to empty out the clock late provided new life when the game should've been over. The Badger secondary had way too many breakdowns up the middle of the field in key moments to ruin a fantastic day from the offense and the running game. For about 50 minutes, this was Wisconsin football. Now its just about getting to a bowl game, needing to win the final three games against Indiana, Minnesota and Cal Poly to be assured of a 13th game. 6-6 might not do it.

Oct. 25
Wisconsin 27 … Illinois 17
Wisconsin scored 17 unanswered points in the second half on David Gilreath touchdowns from 49 and eight yards out along with a 38-yard Philip Welch field goal. Illinois got two Juice Williams touchdown passes, including a 14-yard strike to a wide open A.J. Jenkins, but three interceptions proved costly. Brit Miller made 16 tackles for the Illini.
Player of the game: Wisconsin WR David Gilreath caught three passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Illinois - Passing: Juice Williams, 17-32, 221 yds, 2 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Jason Ford, 12-47. Receiving: A.J. Jenkins, 3-61, 1 TD
Wisconsin - Passing: Dustin Sherer, 12-22, 174 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: John Clay, 25-88. Receiving: Garrett Graham, 6-79
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The Badgers finally stopped someone's running game. The linebackers tackled well against Illinois, holding Juice Williams to four rushing yards and the Illini attack to 88 yards on the ground, while the secondary swarmed to come up with the big interceptions needed to get back into the game. The running game was all John Clay with P.J. Hill only getting three carries, but the real offensive story was Dustin Sherer, who didn't throw any interceptions, took a bit of a beating, and ran well. It will be interesting to see if this win is the spark to finally get the season going.

Oct. 18
Iowa 38 … Wisconsin 16
Iowa got up 14-0 on two Shonn Greene touchdown runs, and after Wisconsin chipped away with three Philip Welch field goals to pull within five late in the third quarter, Greene ended the fun with a 52-yard touchdown dash to open the floodgates. Iowa went on a 24 point run with Greene adding a 34-yard run and Allen Reisner catching a 16-yard touchdown pass. Zach Brown ran for a 21-yard score to make the final score look better than the game was.
Player of the game: Iowa RB Shonn Greene ran 25 times for 217 yards and four touchdowns, and LB Pat Angerer made 16 tackles with two interceptions
Stat Leaders: Wisconsin - Passing: Dustin Sherer, 17-34, 161 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: John Clay, 16-89. Receiving: Garrett Graham, 6-74
Iowa - Passing: Ricky Stanzi, 11-18, 114 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Shonn Greene, 25-217, 4 TD. Receiving: Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, 3-30
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... It's not a question of fight and it doesn't appear to be a question of overall effort. Right now, Wisconsin is playing poorly and it's being poorly coached through this disaster. Getting blasted by Penn State is one thing, but to be embarrassed by Iowa is another. It's not like Iowa isn't good, but the Badgers didn't do anything to adjust in the second half for a fourth straight game, the penalties were a problem, they almost always hurt, and the three interceptions helped make it a blowout. Dustin Sherer threw two picks, but he wasn't awful. It was telling that it was Scott Tolzien came in when times got tough. This is a much, much better team than it showed.

Oct. 11
Penn State 48 … Wisconsin 7
Penn State got up 17-0 early highlighted by a 63-yard Derrick Williams punt return for a touchdown, but Daryll Clark killed any chance for the game to become interesting. Wisconsin went on one good drive going 85 yards in ten plays with Allan Evridge running for a five-yard score, and there was a chance late in the first half to turn things around. A lost fumble led to a two-yard Clark run, and a four-yard Clark run on the opening drive of the second half opened it up to 31-7. Clark connected with Deon Butler for a 44-yard touchdown as part of a run of 31 unanswered points.
Player of the game: Penn State QB Daryll Clark completed 16-of-25 passes for 244 yards and a touchdown with an interception, and ran six times for 12 yards and two scores
Stat Leaders: Wisconsin - Passing: Dustin Sherer, 9-17, 115 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: P.J. Hill, 15-58. Receiving: Travis Beckum, 5-79
Penn State - Passing: Daryll Clark, 16-25, 244 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Evan Royster, 14-60, 1 TD. Receiving: Derrick Williams, 4-26
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Allan Evridge has been given most of the blame for the team's swift and stunning collapse, and rightly so, but the loss isn't just on him. Oh sure, he was lousy, completing just 2-of-10 passes, but this was a total team meltdown. Now the Dustin Sherer talk really begins. Is it time to put Evridge on the sideline? Maybe. He's holding the ball too long and he's not running as much as he should when the chances are there. Four turnovers, eight penalties (to Penn State's one), and a sloppy game all around … this is a Badger team in need of a break.

Oct. 4
Ohio State 20 … Wisconsin 17
Terrelle Pryor ran the option for an 11-yard touchdown with 1:08 to play, and Malcolm Jenkins picked off a pass to snuff out the final Badger drive, as Ohio State came up with a tough, hard-fought win. The Buckeyes got off to a hot start as Beanie Wells blew through the Badger D for a 33-yard touchdown in the first quarter, but Wisconsin rebounded with a nine-yard Mickey Turner touchdown catch and a 20-yard Philip Welch field goal as time expired in the first half. A two-yard P.J. Hill touchdown blast with 6:31 to play gave UW the late lead, but Pryor was nearly perfect on a 12-play, 80-yard drive to pull off the win. In the nearly dead-even game, OSU outgained the Badgers 327 yards to 326.
Player of the game: Ohio State RB Chris Wells ran 22 times for 168 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Ohio State - Passing: Terrelle Pryor, 13-19, 144 yds, 1 INT
Chris Wells, 22-168, 1 TD. Receiving: Brian Hartline, 3-57
- Passing: Allan Evridge, 13-25, 1 TD, 1 INT
John Clay, 10-69. Receiving: Travis Beckum, 6-60
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Where does Wisconsin go from here? After choking away a sure win to a mediocre Michigan team, the defense couldn't come up with a stop when it had to have one on Ohio State's great 12-play final touchdown drive. There's no one to blame (except for maybe the several dropped passes), it was a tight loss against a strong team, but now the Badgers have to host a red-hot Penn State in a do-or-die game for the season. Considering UW has the veteran talent to be in the hunt for the BCS title, and not just the Big Ten championship, the last two games are spectacular disappointments.

Sept. 27
Michigan 27 ... Wisconsin 25
Michigan couldn't have been worse in the first half, turning it over five times as Wisconsin took a 19-0 lead into halftime. It was a completely different Wolverine team over the final 20 minutes of the game as Steven Threet hit Kevin Koger for a 26-yard touchdown late in the third quarter, Brandon Minor ran for a 34-yard score, and John Thompson picked off a pass and took it 25 yards for a score. But the Wolverines went for two and failed, giving them a 20-19 lead with 10:24 to play. The Wolverine scoring run continued going 77 yards in six plays with Sam McGuffie running for a three-yard score with just over five minutes to play. But Wisconsin would rally on its final drive going 64 yards in six plays with Allan Evridge connecting with David Gilreath for a 22-yard touchdown with 13 seconds to play. Down two, the Badger converted the conversion, but it was called back to an ineligible receiver penalty. Evridge misfired on the second try and Wisconsin didn't get the onside kick. Philip Welch hit four first half field goals for the Badgers.
Player of the game: The entire Michigan defensive line, led by DE Brandon Graham, who made six tackles, three sacks, and forced two fumbles
Stat Leaders: Michigan - Passing: Steven Threet, 12-31. 96 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Steven Threet, 9-89. Receiving: Greg Mathews, 4-48
Wisconsin - Passing: Allan Evridge, 20-37, 226 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: P.J. Hill, 22-70. Receiving: David Gilreath, 5-65, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Bret Bielema might be one of college football's bright young head coaches, but he and he staff were blown out by Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan staff when it came to making adjustments. Wisconsin should've blown out Michigan by four touchdowns, but the offense couldn't take advantage of all the first half Wolverine mistakes, and there were no adjustments on the pass plays, especially on third downs, until the final drive. Wisconsin will still go to the Rose Bowl if it wins out, Michigan isn't all that great, but first, QB Allan Evridge needs to be taught to get rid of the ball much, much quicker. He killed the offense by holding on to is way too long.

Sept. 15
Wisconsin 13 ... Fresno State 10
In a defensive slugfest, Wisconsin forced an first quarter turnover with DeAndre Levy picking off a tipped pass leading to a two-yard Garrett Graham touchdown catch. Philip Welch added field goals from 38 and 23 yards to keep the Badgers ahead, but it would be a battle. Fresno State relied on the big play, highlighted by a 47-yard Devon Wylie touchdown catch, but Kevin Goessling missed three field goals to stall potential momentum-stealing drives. The Badgers were pinned on their one-yard line in the final minutes, but powered their way to a first down and the win.
Player of the game: Wisconsin LB DeAndre Levy made nine tackles, four tackles for loss, a sack and an interception that set up Wisconsin's only touchdown
Stat Leaders: Wisconsin - Passing: Allan Evridge, 12-24, 143 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: P.J. Hill, 26-112 Receiving: Garrett Graham, 5-58
Fresno State - Passing: Tom Brandstater, 15-27, 225 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Lonyae Miller, 7-58. Receiving: Bear Pascoe, 3-32
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The Badgers survived the trip against a very dangerous Fresno State. It wasn't pretty, but it was an important road win that might not get enough credit on a national scale. However, the game exposed two big problems. 1) The defensive back seven still gives up too many big plays. The Badgers were fortunate Fresno State couldn't close on some big drives. 2) They need better quarterback play. Allan Evridge was fine, but he has to prove he can be better on third downs. He struggled to keep the chains moving and misfired on too many throws. Even so, UW will take this win and run going into the off week. The nasty stretch of the season kicks in starting at Michigan on the 27th.

Sept. 6
Wisconsin 51 ... Marshall 14
With a near-perfect offensive balance, Wisconsin overcame a 14-0 deficit to reel off 51 unanswered points helped by six touchdown runs with P.J. Hill and John Clay each scoring twice. Allan Evridge found Garrett Graham for a 26-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter to all but seal the win,  while the defense helped the cause with three interceptions to turn the game around. Marshall got its scores on one-yard runs from Chubb Small in the first quarter and Darius Marshall in the second.
Player of the game: Wisconsin QB Allan Evridge finished 17-of-26 for 308 yards and a touchdown.
Stat Leaders: Marshall
- Passing: Mark Cann, 20-39, 211 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Darius Marshall, 18-50, 1 TD. Receiving: Darius Passmore, 7-95
- Passing: Allan Evridge, 17-26, 308 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: P.J. Hill, 18-57, 2 TDs. Receiving: Garrett Graham, 4-73, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... This is the game Allan Evridge needed. The Marshall defensive front did a good job of keeping the Wisconsin running game in check, and it did a better job of hitting Evridge. However, Evridge managed to fight through a few sure sacks and make plays and was deadly accurate when given time. The defense was tremendous, especially the secondary, after the first 20 minutes, but to beat Fresno State next week the D will have to come out fired up and rocking from the opening snap. The Badgers won't be able to ease their way into it like they did this week.

Aug. 30
Wisconsin 38 ... Akron 17
Wisconsin rumbled for 404 rushing yards with P.J. Hill getting 210 of them along with touchdown short touchdown runs. The score looks better than the game as the Badgers blew two chances for early scores with Hill fumbling through the end zone on one drive and an bad pass from Allan Evridge in the end zone getting picked off and leading to an Akron field goal with two seconds remaining in the first half. Akron got two Chris Jacquemain touchdown passes with the second coming with 38 seconds to play. Tyler Campbell made 18 tackles for the Zips.
Player of the game: Wisconsin RB P.J. Hill ran 26 times for 210 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Akron - Passing: Chris Jacquemain, 22-36, 227 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Dennis Kennedy, 8-35. Receiving: Deryn Bowser, 5-76
Wisconsin - Passing: Allan Evredge, 7-10, 75 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: P.J. Hill, 26-210, 2 TD. Receiving: Kyle Jefferson, 2-27
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... While the Badgers had little trouble getting by Akron, they have to do a better job of closing. Two bad mistakes, a fumble by P.J. Hill and an Allan Evridge interception, allowed the Zips to stay alive, and UW never quite had the same intensity as it went through the motions in the second half. Against Marshall next week, Evridge will have to prove he can play. He only tried some safe throws and spent the game handing off to P.J. Hill, but he hung his out patterns a bit much and should've had at least two other picks. But the offense is all about the ground game, and the line was tremendous and Hill looked like a quicker, speedier back than last year.

2008 Early Lookahead
Why to get excited: If the Badgers don't have the best group of running backs in America, they're close with thumper P.J. Hill, the solid Zach Brown, and the slippery Lance Smith forming a three-headed monster that should run amok behind a fantastic defensive line. Tyler Donovan was a better quarterback than he might get credit for, but he's replaceable; Allan Evridge is ready to hit the ground running. It's a no-name defense, but it'll be really, really good with LB Jonathan Casillas, FS Shane Carter and DE Matt Shaughnessy among the three best players in the Big Ten.
Why to be grouchy: The first seven games of the Big Ten season before closing out at Minnesota: At Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, at Iowa, Illinois, at Michigan State, at Indiana. That's six bowl teams and a trip to Iowa City. Wisconsin might be great, but it won't be good enough to get through the slate unscathed. Going to Fresno State in late September will be nasty. The punting game was averaged, but Ken DeBauche will be missed and PK Taylor Mehlhaff is a huge loss.
The number one thing to work on is: Being Wisconsin. Back in the day, the Badgers would overcome problems by steamrolling teams with their big, beefy offensive line and great backs. Last year, the passing game opened things up enough to keep opposing safeties deep, but the ground game still wasn't always as effective as it should've been. The line was lousy in pass protection and didn't inflict its will often enough. With talent up front returning, that has to change.
Biggest offensive loss: QB Tyler Donovan
Biggest defensive loss: CB Jack Ikegwuonu
Best returning offensive player: RB P.J. Hill, Jr.
Best returning defensive player: DE Matt Shaughnessy, Sr.

2007 Wisconsin
2007 Recap: The next-best-thing to Michigan in the Big Ten before the season began, Wisconsin never quite fulfilled expectations in 2007.  The Badgers finished in fourth place in the league, going a perfect 7-0 at Camp Randall, but managing just two wins in six tries outside Madison, including a 21-17 loss to Tennessee in the Outback Bowl.  Although injuries to receivers Luke Swan and Paul Hubbard hurt the offense's development, an overrated defense had no excuses for allowing more than 30 points six times, and creating a mere 19 turnovers in 13 games.  

Offensive Player of the Year: TE Travis Beckum

Defensive Player of the Year: DE Matt Shaughnessy

Biggest Surprise: RB Zach Brown.  Thrust into action as a true freshman after P.J. Hill suffered an injury, Brown gave the Badgers an instant jolt of depth in the backfield.  Rather than redshirting, as hoped, he rushed for 568 yards and five touchdowns, playing an integral part in the team's wins over Michigan and Minnesota.

Biggest Disappointment:
The defense.  Loaded with returning starters, the Badgers were a shell of the team that was so dominant on defense in 2006.  Wisconsin allowed twice as many points as a year ago, had problems getting to the quarterback, and didn't create enough takeaways.  On Sept. 15, Wisconsin gave up 31 points and 377 yards to The Citadel, an early warning sign for the unit.  

Looking Ahead: Although forecasters will surely be a little more cautious with the Badgers this season, there are enough regulars returning for them to make a serious push for a Big Ten championship.  First, however, Bret Bielema must decide if senior Allan Evridge is his starting quarterback, or if one of the more untested signal-callers is prepared to win the job.

2008 Recruiting Class

Star of the Class

Tyler Westphal DE 6-6 230 Menasha, WI
No. 1 player in the state and tenth-best defensive end nationally by Scout.com … ESPN-U All-American … first-team all-state, first-team all-region, first-team all-conference defensive end and tight end as a senior … first-team all-conference as a junior … honorable mention all-conference as a sophomore … 76 tackles and nine QB sacks as a senior for career totals of 222 tackles and 28 QB sacks

Potential Instant Impact Players

Leonard Hubbard LB 6-2 225 Springfield, IL
Ranked as the 19th-best middle linebacker in the nation and the 19th-best player in Illinois by Scout.com … ranked as the No. 28 linebacker in the nation by Scouts Inc.… second-team all-state by the Illinois Coaches Association and the Chicago Tribune … first-team all-state (Champaign News Gazette) and first-team all-conference as a senior … second-team all-state, first-team all-conference and first-team all-area as a junior … career totals of 357 tackles and seven sacks as well as 756 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns … also lettered in basketball and baseball.

Daniel Moore DT 6-2 290 Joliet, IL
Junior College:
Second-team all-conference and second-team all area as a senior … team won the 2007 Graphic Printing Bowl … 40 tackles, including 11 TFLs and eight QB sacks as a sophomore High School: Honorable mention all-state and first-team all-conference linebacker, as well as St. Louis Post-Dispatch Defensive Player of the Year, as a senior … second-team all-conference running back as a senior … honorable mention all-state, first-team all-metro and first-team all conference as a junior linebacker … 102 tackles, one QB sack and one interception as a senior … team captain as a junior and senior

Rest of the Class

Eriks Briedis DT 6-5 263 Miami, FL
Jake Byrne TE 6-5 240 Rogers, AR
Kevin Claxton DB 6-2 192 Lauderdale Lakes, FL
Marcus Cromartie DB 6-0 159 Mansfield, TX
Jake Current OL 6-3 270 Troy, OH
Zach Davison TE 6-4 219 Waukee, IA
Antonio Fenelus DB 5-9 170 Boca Raton, FL
Christopher Garner OL 6-5 315 Augusta, WI
Shelton Johnson DB 6-0 167 Carrollton, TX
Dex Jones RB 6-1 215 Lombard, IL
Brendan Kelly DE 6-6 225 Eden Prairie, MN
Peter Konz OL 6-6 285 Neenah, WI
Anthony Mains DE 6-7 225 Naples, FL
Bradley Nortman K 6-3 210 Brookfield, WI
Curt Phillips QB 6-3 212 Kingsport, TN
Joe Schafer OL 6-5 265 St. Paul, MN
Devin Smith DB 5-11 179 Coppell, TX
Erik Smith RB 5-11 185 Bolingbrook, IL
Michael Taylor LB 6-2 195 Ashwaubenon, WI
T.J. Williams WR 6-0 180 Kenosha, WI
Kevin Zeitler OL 6-4 279 Milwaukee, WI

Related Stories
Class of 2009 formally announced
 -by BadgerNation.com  Feb 4, 2009
Badger Nation's Signing Day Newsstand
 -by BadgerNation.com  Feb 4, 2009
Bret Bielema - Signing Day Audio
 -by BadgerNation.com  Feb 4, 2009

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