Revisiting last week's Wisconsin victory: Dooley stars for Badgers against Wildcats

Image By: Brandon Moe

No doubt things would have been different last Saturday had Wisconsin’s defensive line not picked up the slack during its sluggish first half against Northwestern. No. 9 Wisconsin, having trailed the Wildcats 10-7 at the half, seemed to have no apparent momentum available to carry it into the second half of the game. However, while the offense seemed out of sorts, the defense was anything but. Wisconsin’s defensive line made some big time plays, holding the Wildcats to only 25 rushing yards, putting major pressure on Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson and, in turn, leaving the Wildcats without any room to run the ball. Wisconsin’s defense shined bright again on Saturday with six Badgers accounting for eight sacks during the game — the highest total since 2001.

Senior outside linebacker Garret Dooley’s performance stood out the most though, as after three sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss, he emerged as the Badgers’ MVP for the week. Thanks to the energy Dooley brought to the field with some chief defensive stops, the Badgers’ offensive was then able to piggy-back off the momentum created by their defense in order to make various successful plays, such as the two touchdowns by freshman running back Jonathan Taylor.

Though the Badgers came out with a 33-24 victory over the Wildcats, the game was anything but easy to watch, particularly in the first half which accounted for three turnovers, two of which were interceptions. Facing Nebraska this week, another unranked team with a record of 3-2, Wisconsin must pull all its efforts together, on both the defensive and offensive side, in order to play a neat and controlled game. Seniors, such as Dooley, must continue to be leaders on the field by keeping other players composed, especially when the game does not seem to be going their way if the Badgers plan to continue down their undefeated path.

Jessi Schoville | The Daily Cardinal

Dooley led the Badgers with three sacks against the Wildcats.

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