Robert Wheelwright helped officially usher in the Paul Chryst era at Camp Randall Stadium Saturday in exciting fashion, as the Wisconsin junior wide receiver hauled in two touchdown passes in front of 9,630 fans Saturday afternoon during the Badgers' annual spring game. Wheelwright helped lead a first-team squad "coached" by former Badgers guard Josh Gasser, and along with a stingy defense stymying the Badgers' second team players headed by former forward Duje Dukan, cruised to a 35-7 win.
Wisconsin's first-team offense started the glorified scrimmage on the right foot, going 80 yards under the leadership of senior quarterback Joel Stave. The former walk-on completed his only two passes of the afternoon. First, Stave executed a perfect 38-yard out-and-up to senior wide receiver Alex Erickson -- then hit Wheelwright on a 17-yard strike in the end zone against sophomore cornerback Natrell Jamerson.
With Stave's afternoon done after one series, junior quarterback Bart Houston took over. Early in the second quarter, Houston drove the Badgers 60 yards in seven plays, ending with a 20-yard touchdown pass to the Columbus, Oh. native.
Both first- and second-team squads had difficulty containing defensive coordinator Dave Aranda's aggressive defense. Wisconsin in total registered 10 sacks on the afternoon, 6.5 by first-team players. Sophomore defensive end Chikwe Obasih registered 2.5 sacks against "opposing" quarterbacks, while the inside linebacker duo of junior Leon Jacobs and redshirt freshman T.J. Edwards combined for 17 tackles and 2.5 sacks.
Junior running back Dare Ogunbowale, in a battle for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart with redshirt freshman Taiwan Deal, had the longest play of the day for Wisconsin, taking a handoff off the right side of the line and taking it 55 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter.
Ogunbowale would add another touchdown -- a 20-yard effort later in that quarter -- to put "Team Gasser" up 28-0. Junior Serge Trezy added a rushing touchdown of his own, and the first team earned Gasser his first Gatorade bath of his young career.
Dukan's squad did have a couple of bright spots. Redshirt freshman safety Evan Bondoc recorded 12 tackles on the afternoon, and true freshman quarterback Austin Kafentzis -- whose snaps have been few during the spring -- connected with sophomore wide receiver George Rushing on a 34-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter.
Wisconsin did not have several players compete during the spring game -- among them junior running back Corey Clement, senior guard Ray Ball and junior defensive linemen Arthur Goldberg.
Check back with B5Q this weekend for more analysis from Saturday's game.