Defense struggles to contain BG’s Jacobs

first_imgWisconsin defensive coordinator Bret Bielema knew his defense was in for its fair share of headaches Saturday afternoon. The dominating exploits of the Falcons’ Heisman hopeful, quarterback Omar Jacobs, were well noted heading into the contest — 4,002 yards, 41 touchdowns, four interceptions. Jacobs’ 2004 statistics were stellar by any stretch of the imagination and, Saturday, he lived up to that billing.Thriving in head coach Gregg Brandon’s fast-paced, multi-set offense, Jacobs scorched the young, inexperienced Badger defense, slinging 30 completions for 458 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.“They’re a very unique offense,” Bielema said. “Especially the first two series, there [were] a lot of things we didn’t even prepare for. But we knew that. They came out with two backs in the backfield, something that wasn’t a high priority for them a year ago.[Jacobs] is a good football player. He makes good decisions. He can throw the long ball, the short ball and he has good poise in the pocket.”When asked to compare Jacobs to another quarterback, UW free safety Roderick Rogers compared the Falcon gunslinger to another great spread-offense quarterback, Purdue’s Kyle Orton.“Omar — he’s something special,” Rogers said. “I think he’s more like a Kyle Orton, but he’s real steady out there, a great quarterback.”Rogers, who was tagged for a pair of pass-interference calls, was just one of several victims in the secondary Saturday. Playing perhaps as much as 85 percent of the game in a nickel defense, according to Bielema, the Badgers struggled to stop the Falcons’ receiving corps, especially in the first half.Bowling Green’s Charles Sharon, Steve Sanders and Corey Partridge shredded a UW defensive backfield that used at least eight different players, including a pair of freshmen. The Falcon trio combined for 22 catches, 403 yards and four touchdowns. All three receivers also showcased their big-play abilities, each posting at least one catch of more than 40 yards.“We just can’t let people behind us — that’s the big one,” Bielema said about Bowling Green’s ability to get behind the UW defensive backs. “The play before the end of the first half just absolutely killed me, internally, but also hurt us very much from a game perspective.Those are things you can’t let happen. I knew they were going to get a chunk of yardage, but we have to be able to keep the ball in front of us and make them earn every yard. We can’t just give up a play.”But the Badger defense clearly came out with a renewed vigor in the second half. Wisconsin held the Falcon defense to a paltry one yard on 10 plays in the third quarter, and made an impressive goal line stand just seconds before the final whistle blew to halt Bowling Green’s last-second comeback attempt.“We did respond well in the third quarter,” Bielema said. “We switched up some stuff, we played a lot of different stuff today. I knew we were going to have to try to give them some different looks, try to get in Jacobs’ head a little bit and get him out of rhythm.”Though Jacobs looked in control for most of the game, those different looks, including several varying blitz packages and line stunts, resulted in four Badger sacks and several hurries. Bielema was pleased with the pressure, especially when considering Jacobs was sacked just 10 times last season.“We never want to be a reactive defense. We want people to react to us,” Bielema said. “So what we tried to do was put him in a situation where he had to make a decision right away based on the pressure he saw. Sometimes it worked; sometimes it didn’t. But I don’t remember them getting a big play on us based on the pressure.”last_img read more

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