Hot start, cool finish, but Badgers hang on

For those worried about UW's quarterback situation this season, Scott Tolzien provided a little bit of assurance on his first snap from scrimmage.

On a play that was called over 24-hours before kickoff, Tolzien executed a perfect play action fake and hit a wide-open Issac Anderson 35 yards downfield. The junior wide receiver did the rest, scampering the final 45 yards to complete an 80-yard touchdown pass on UW's first play on offense.

Even Tolzien couldn't envision his first pass as UW's starting quarterback being completed for an 80-yard bomb.

"I wouldn't have envisioned it that way, but hey, we'll take it when we get those shots," he said. "You just need to pretend you're in the backyard or at a high school game."

Tolzien didn't stop there. The junior quarterback completed 15-of-20 passes for 257 yards. He looked crisp all night and only made two bad decisions. One resulted in his in second interception, which led to NIU's second touchdown in the fourth quarter. But his first interception was the result of bad protection and like a veteran, he didn't let it affect him the rest of the game.

First play was called Friday

When you are making your first collegiate start it can't hurt to have the first play called 24-hours before the game starts.

"We had made that call a day before the game," Tolzien said. "Obviously it depends on the situiation -- if you get pinned back deep or get a big return -- but we knew of it the day before. [Paul Chryst] called it and it worked pretty well."

David Gilreath's punt return to the 20 yard line put the Badgers in perfect position to call the play. It didn't even appear that the defensive backs bit on the play fake, they were just expecting UW to come out running and no one bothered to stay with Anderson.

Preparing with a "Hangover"

Asked if he had trouble sleeping the night before his first start, Tolzien said he popped in a movie at the hotel with his roommate Lance Kendricks which took the edge off.

"We watched The Hangover. It was a movie of choice that we agreed on and it was pretty good," he said.

And speaking of hangover, Tolzien made it clear he and Kendricks got in bed before curfew.

"I got my 10 hours of sleep," he laughed.

Carimi battling a cold

If 10 hours wasn't enough, Gabe Carimi said he got 13 hours of sleep Friday night. The offensive tackle, who suffered a knee injury in camp, said his leg wasn't bothering him Saturday, but he was suffering from a cold. 

"I had the shivers and was sweating profusely. It was one of those nights where I was constantly pulling the covers over me and then off again," he said.

Carimi didn't show any signs of fatigue on the field though and overall he was happy with the offensive line's play.

"It seems like we did a pretty decent job. Maybe we were a little hesitent because we had some new guys in there, but overall I think we did a good job," he said.

Extras

  • One of the key stats Saturday night was third down conversions. UW converted 7-of-12 third downs while NIU went 3-for-12.
  • Aaron Henry didn't exactly look like the star cornerback we saw two years ago before he tore his ACL. Henry missed a crucial tackle in the first quarter that resulted in a 47-yard run for Me'co Brown. He also committed two pass interference penalties, although one was called back because the ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage.
  • Wondering why the Huskies made a comeback? After UW held the ball for 12:11 in the third quarter, the Badgers only had possession for 4:05 in the fourth.
  • After catching three passesin the first quarter -- including the 80-yard touchdown to open the game-- and scoring on a 23-yard touchdown run to open the second quarter, Issac Anderson didn't touch the ball the rest of the game. 
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