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Wisconsin Spring Game: Cardinal 61, White 47

The defense won on the scoreboard, though the Badgers' spring game could probably be considered an all-around success.

Lookin' good, Joel.
Lookin' good, Joel.
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The sun was out one day after this damn winter brought more snow to Madison, a probably-larger-than-expected crowd showed up and nobody got hurt. That's a recipe for a solid spring game, and the Badgers got just that -- and a little more.

The Cardinal team (defense) "won" the game by a 61-47 score over White, but strong individual performances were had throughout the roster. The spring game is just that, the spring game, so we take these results with a few grains of salt. Plus, both units were without nearly half of their starters and we were forced to put up with this mess of a scoring system:

Touchdown = 6 pts.
Conversion = 1 or 2 pts. (ALL LIVE)
Field goal = 3 pts.
Run of 15+ yards = 2 pts.
Pass of 20+ yards = 2 pts.
First Down = 1 pt.

Touchdown = 6 pts.
Safety = 2 pts.
Conversion = 1 or 2 pts. (ALL LIVE)
Turnover = 5 pts.
3-and-out = 3 pts.
Blocked FG = 3 pts.
Stopped drive, Sack, TFL = 2 pts.

BlackPack-fan summed it up nicely in the GameThread: "This scoring system is genius. ... Its so comprehensive yet its keeping the game close, and sportscenter will have something to say about this game when the final scores are in the 70 and 80s. Enjoying it so far."

That Gary Andersen, so savvy. On to those strong performances:

-- Curt Phillips got the first first-team snaps at quarterback, though Joel Stave was by far the best quarterback of the day. Stave completed 15 of his 20 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown, and he looked exceptionally comfortable both inside and outside the pocket. Phillips, for the record, went 8-for-13 with 82 yards. Entering the summer, it feels safe to say Stave will be Wisconsin's Week 1 starting quarterback barring a complete collapse in the fall or a stunning emergence by JuCo transfer Tanner McEvoy.

-- Melvin Gordon was the lone available running back (at least, among the guys that will actually play) and he looked great. So great that when BTN interviewed Montee Ball on the sideline -- sporting some nifty, post-graduate shades, no less -- you really weren't that concerned that the NCAA's leading touchdown scorer won't to be back next year. The sophomore running back gained 74 yards on 17 carries (don't let the 4.4 yards-per-carry fool you -- he also added 39 receiving yards on 4 catches) and added one touchdown. Newly-converted safety Kyle Zuleger got some carries, as did fullbacks Derek Watt and Derek Straus. Watt also looked good fielding some passes out of the backfield.

-- Receivers: No Jared Abbrederis, but Kenzel Doe (8 catches, 93 yards) was targeted early and often Jordan Fredrick (3 catches, 35 yards) had a few grabs and was also nearly killed by an ill-advised Curt Phillips pass and the tight ends (Jacob Pedersen and Brian Wozniak, in particular) looked alright out there.

-- Offensive line: Probably not the best day for these guys, though in all fairness they've been the most injury-ravaged group this spring. Danny O'Brien (who did not look good at all, by the way) and Phillips suffered from poor pass-protection, and Gordon's brilliance probably obscured some further issues. Tyler Marz started at left tackle while Dallas Lewallen lined up at left guard, for what it's worth.

-- Defensively, the Badgers showed a ton of new looks with their new 3-4 base defense. Andersen said after the game that the D was fairly generic since the game was televised -- damn you, BTN! -- but it seems safe to say this will be a fun, dynamic group to watch come fall. Linebacker Vince Biegel had two safeties by way of "sacks" -- remember, quarterbacks couldn't be hit -- with four tackles and early-enrollee cornerback Sojourn Shelton had a few nice pass-breakups and overall solid, spunky freshman play. Looks like he'll be a contributor in the real games, too. Joe Schobert and Marcus Trotter led all players with 7 tackles.

Box Score