Tennessee Tech vs. Wisconsin: Run/pass charts, observations

Mike McGinnis

Another week, another 40+ points scored on an opponent. Which personnel and formations did Wisconsin use to manhandle the Tennessee Tech?

A week after Wisconsin put up 598 yards of offense against an overmatched UMass program, many believed an FCS opponent in Tennessee Tech, who put up 60+ points over an NAIA opponent in week one, would provide more of a challenge.

606 yards allowed and 48 points surrendered later, the Golden Eagles flew out of the coop known as Camp Randall Stadium, giving up 7.6 yards per play in the process. So what did the Badgers do differently that lead to another lopsided victory?

Based on the chart below, the Badgers, while again not showcasing much exotic flavor in their play-calling, relied on two-tight end sets and a balanced first-half attack to coast to another victory.

FIRST HALF
Personnel (RB/TE) Run Pass Total TD Notes
_00
_01
_02
_03
_04
10
11 2 13 1 Stave: 11-of-12, 96 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
12 10 1 1 Gordon 37-yard TD; Stave scramble
13 5 2
14
20
21 2 1
22 2 3 1 Gordon 66-yard run; Abbrederis 6-yard TD
23 1 1 Straus TD Catch
Total 1st half: 21 21 42 4
SECOND HALF
Personnel (RB/TE) Run Pass Total TD Notes
_00
_01
_02
_03
_04
10
11 2 4
12 8 0

13 4 1

14
20
21 6 1 1 Clement 75-yard TD run
22 8 2

23 2 0 2 2 goal-line touchdowns
Total 2nd half: 30 8 38 3
Total runs: 51
Total pass: 29
Total plays: 80
Total TDs: 7

Observations:

  • Andy Ludwig's offense scored 11 more points in the first half this week, and it utilized a balanced attack of passing and running the ball. 21 runs and 21 passes distributed nicely led to 327 total yards at halftime.
  • In 11 personnel, sophomore quarterback Joel Stave shined, especially during the two-minute drill late in the first half. He was 11-of-12 for 96 yards and a touchdown. His only incompletion was the bad interception intended for Abbrederis. This is in stark contrast to last week, where he was 3-for-7 and an INT with that same personnel.
  • Whether Ludwig saw something in the personnel and scheming of the Golden Eagles or changed some calls based on the loss of sophomore fullback Derek Watt, the use of two-plus-tight end sets increased, as Wisconsin ran 49 plays using more than two tight ends, while running 31 with one tight end or fewer. This compared to 32 of the 62 offensive plays ran last week using two or more tight ends.
  • Out of those 51 two-plus-tight end sets this week, five went for touchdowns (compared to four last week).
  • Three of those five touchdowns were in a 23 personnel -- two running backs, three tight ends. Wisconsin showcased this personnel three times in goal-line situations and found the endzone on each one. This might really be the only unique wrinkle Ludwig showed this week, although the not-as-prosperous fly sweep to junior receiver Kenzel Doe also was called (although teased last week).
  • Sophomore fullback Derek Straus, filling in for Watt, had a productive day, presenting a viable option out of the backfield for Stave (including a touchdown reception in the first quarter), along with helping block key 66- and 75-yard runs by sophomore running back Melvin Gordon and freshman running back Corey Clement, respectively.
  • After productive first-half passing built a sizable lead, Wisconsin's running game took control. 30 plays were on the ground in the second half, compared to eight in the air.
  • Lastly, the number of offensive plays increased 80, up 18 from 62 a week ago.
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