In one fake punt on Saturday, Wisconsin senior outside linebacker Joe Schobert would lead the team in rushing.
His 57-yard run in the first quarter didn't just set the pace for the rest of the team for one play, but for the remainder of their 31-24 victory over the Maryland Terrapins at Byrd Stadium. A gutsy call deep in Wisconsin's territory on their own 22-yard line, it set up the Badgers' go-ahead touchdown by fellow former walk-on Dare Ogunbowale the immediate play thereafter in a game that they would never trail again.
"When we were running out on the field, I told him we should run it -- and he said, 'Go for it,'" Schobert said after the game. "We did, and it worked out for us."
The game was tied at 7 when UW's offense failed to get a first down on a 3rd-and-1 attempt after Maryland's defense stuffed true freshman running back Alec Ingold for no gain. The call was made to try it, but if the Badgers wouldn't have converted -- the Terps would have received a very short field to try to take the lead.
"If you think you got it, go, right?" said Chryst in his post-game press conference. "We all know if it doesn't work, right? But that's the life you're in. Trust your players, and I felt like 'Schobs' could get a yard."
A look at the play -- 4th-and-1 on Wisconsin's 22-yard line
The Badgers line up in their punt formation -- five down linemen with three protectors. Schobert's in the middle, to the right of sophomore safety D'Cota Dixon (14) and to the left of redshirt senior safety Michael Caputo. Dixon's block will be key to springing him shortly.
Maryland has seven players lined up on the line, with one lined up five yards behind.
On the snap, which is directly to the former prep tailback who still owns the WIAA Division I state record for rushing yards in a state title game (296 yards on 38 carries in 2010), redshirt sophomore Jack Cichy (No. 48) crashes down on his defender inside. Dixon in the second photo below, explodes and pushes back his defender on the outside, creating a sizable alley to run through. Schobert sees the hole and explodes out into the open, with junior wide receiver Malcolm Culmer (No. 83) sucked into the middle, and Cichy's blocks his initial guy straight towards Culmer four yards past the line of scrimmage.
"I just think they were kind of in a rush look, and they kind of wrapped to our right side, and opened up a little hole on the left," Schobert said. "The guys did a great job blocking and moving the punt return team off the ball, and I don't think I was touched until I got to the returner."
Schobert scampers into Maryland territory and does in fact meet skilled punt return Will Likely (No. 4) -- who the Badgers contained to -1 yards on punt returns -- with a stiff arm before being dragged down at the Maryland 21-yard line.
Chryst called Schobert's run "sensational" in his post-game press conference. Does Schobert constantly remind Chryst about his prep tailback days?
"(I think about using him at running back) every time he comes up to me and says he was a great tailback," said Chryst. "I said, 'I know you were, Joe.'"
Hesitating for a second, Chryst added, "I don't believe him," with a huge laugh.
The former walk-on, who was a day away from heading out west to North Dakota, didn't deny it.
"Oh yeah, I tell him all the time," Schobert admitted. "Going back to the day, I like to joke about it -- semi-serious, I think I could."