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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Joel Sunshine Stave

Football: Badger offense falls to defense in Spring Game

Despite some occasional bursts of production, the Badger’s White team (offense) fell to the Cardinal team (defense) in Saturday’s Spring Game by a score of 61-47.

The scores are deceptively high due to an unorthodox scoring system implemented this year by new head coach Gary Andersen, in an attempt to better measure performance on each side of the ball.

Teams received the same number of points for traditional scoring methods, but received additional points for other feats—including first downs, passes of 20 or more yards, sacks and stopped drives.

Attendance was high this year, drawing in a boisterous crowd of 12,050 compared to last year’s 10,479, a sign that Badger fans have not been deterred by another Rose Bowl loss and the departure of a successful head coach.

A central focus of the offense was the competition between quarterbacks, as no choice has been made for who will start the season.

Sophomore quarterback Joel Stave had the best performance of any passer, going 15-of-20 for 161 yards and one touchdown. The touchdown pass came after one of the two best drives put together by the offense, both of which were helmed by Stave.

“You always want to just play to compete hard,” Stave said. “Regardless if we’re running everything that we’ve put in throughout the spring or if we’re just keeping it pretty vanilla and running some of the basic install plays, you just want to complete the balls that you get and be smart with it.”

Stave’s main competition, senior quarterback Curt Phillips, wasn’t able to match the sophomore’s output, going 8-of-13 for 82 yards and no touchdowns.

“[My performance] was average. I didn’t do anything special, but there weren’t any big mistakes either, so I think it’s just something to build off of,” Phillips said.

Andersen gave no mention of which quarterback he thought might have the edge, instead assuring both appeared poised and capable.

“Positive performance, really,” Anderson said. “I hate to look at one day and one performance, but I think this past week if I look at both those two we’re moving in the right direction, just feeling comfortable with what’s going on.”

The offensive line may have been the weakest point in the White team’s game, allowing six sacks, a safety and five tackles for a loss.

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Sophomore running back Melvin Gordon was Wisconsin’s most effective ground attack, tallying 17 carries for 74 yards and four catches for 39 yards, a performance highlighted by an 11-yard touchdown run to the outside, where he managed to evade the defense with limited blocking and score in the left corner of the    end zone.

Gordon, who has been battling an ankle injury throughout the offseason, said he was pleased with the offense’s overall performance on Saturday and expressed optimism about his ability to come back                            when healthy.

“I think I’m a lot better,” Gordon said. “I worked on my pad level a little bit. I still need work, obviously, but I think I can be really good.”

In the absence of notable senior wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, junior wide receiver Kenzel Doe stood out as the primary option for both Stave and Phillips. Doe had eight receptions for 93 yards.

Stave commented on Doe’s performance as sign of his progression, and what he’ll be capable of doing when the regular season starts.

He just continues to get better,” Stave said. “He’s a very athletic kid, so when he can get the ball in a space he can really make some good things happen.”

With no more public games scheduled and the semester coming to a close, the team’s focus will turn to off the field activities.

“Number one right now is finish academically,” Andersen said. “Secondly is to use these next two weeks to get into the weight room and formulate our plan for the rest of the semester.”

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