Waving the White flag: Cardinal rules

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first_imgBEN CLASSON/Herald photoIt was all but over after the first play. In the annual Cardinal versus White game that concludes the spring portion of the season, it’s normally the defense that reigns supreme. While it was the case for the Cardinal unit — most of which comprised Wisconsin’s top four nationally ranked defense from last season and the first-team offense — the White unit came out of the gates as spectators to the prolific Cardinal attack, which took home the 35-6 win. Behind offensive coordinator Paul Chryst’s attack-first mentality and quarterback Tyler Donovan’s execution, the Cardinal moved the ball from its 30-yard line to the White’s 30-yard line on the first play from scrimmage courtesy of a Paul Hubbard reception. “We really wanted to start the game fast,” Hubbard said. “The defense has always had the jump on us; they’ve always beaten us down in the spring game, and we wanted to go out there and set the tone. And I think we did that pretty much the whole game and on that first play.” Five plays and two completions later, the Cardinal team was up 7-0 after Donovan connected with senior wide receiver Luke Swan for a 17-yard strike. “It was just an opportunity to make a throw. Swan ran a good route, and we were able to capitalize on that,” said Donovan of his touchdown pass.On the drive, the offense showed glimpses of what it has been searching for all spring: consistency. “As an offense, we need that consistency; and if we keep getting better as an offense and clicking, the sky’s the limit for this offense,” Donovan added. Making a statement of his own in the race to become Wisconsin’s starting quarterback, transfer Allan Evridge launched a deep ball to Luke Swan down the right sideline on his first play from scrimmage. Although Swan had to wait for it, there was still plenty of cushion between him and the defensive back Prince Moody for Swan to come down with the 45-yard reception. “That was the play coach Chryst called — that was the read and that was the guy that was open, so I tried to throw it down there to him, and it worked out great,” Evridge said. “I would have liked to go a little shorter on the first play, but it was fun kind of just winging it.”On the very next play, the Cardinal was off and running, up 14-0 after running back Lance Smith scampered into the end zone from 25 yards out on a play originally designed to sweep to the outside. “I didn’t plan on doing it like that, but it just worked out perfectly,” Smith said.Although the sophomore back was successful on that run and his stats were solid — two touchdowns and 77 yards on 16 carries — he’s missing running lanes and sometimes isn’t following the design of the play.”At times, Lance has done some great things for us, but he still doesn’t have a general understanding of what we want,” Bielema said. “For you to be a guy to be counted on every day, … you need to do everything possible that you’re capable of doing on every play, and I don’t see that in him. … When it’s not supposed to be an outside bounce play — it’s supposed to hit inside — that’s where it needs to go.” Dustin Sherer, the third quarterback vying for the starting job, had all sorts of difficulties finding time to pass or do anything with the football. It didn’t help that Tyler Holland couldn’t establish a ground attack, either. The Cardinal defense was part of the problem. Matt Shaughnessy recorded two sacks, and as a whole, the first team recorded six for the game to go with three interceptions. “I thought our defense could run and did a lot of good things out there, creating some turnovers for our one and twos,” Bielema said.By halftime, the Cardinal held a 28-0 advantage. From there, the defenses and offenses began interchanging, diluting the first team with second teamers as the third stringers moved in to play. The White’s lone score came after Sherer was able to move the ball down field for the first time all day, connecting with T.J. Theus twice and tight end Sean Lewis. After a penalty and a tipped ball that fell incomplete, backup kicker Matt Fisher came in to attempt the 42-yard field goal. In the sophomore’s first career game situation kick, he split the uprights. “For him to go out and nail a 42-yarder today, I think that speaks volumes for him,” Bielema said.The lone score for the Cardinal in the second half came on a dump out into the flat thrown by Evridge to fullback Chris Pressley. In the battle of the quarterbacks, Donovan finished the game 7-of-11 for 95 yards a touchdown and late interception, while Evridge was 8-of-14 for 120 yards to go with his two touchdowns. Swan and Hubbard led the way receiving with 79 yards and 66 yards respectively. Both also found paydirt. The attendance was 18,020; not the 50,000 Bielema wants to see one day, but a step in the right direction after drawing just over 10,000 a year ago.last_img

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