October 31, 2009

Notes and quotes: Post Purdue

MADISON - Saturday's blow out win over Purdue would have been a good birthday present by itself for UW defensive lineman David Gilbert. But apparently for the true freshman, he wanted to make his 18th birthday a bit more memorable.

With his team already up 17-0 midway through the second quarter, Gilbert made one of the more athletic punt blocks you will likely see as he leapt over three defenders to get a hand on the ball.

The block in and of itself was incredible, but the fact Aaron Henry was able to pick up the loose ball and score made it all the more better.

"I stole it from Chris Borland," Gilbert, in reference to Chris Borland's similar punt block against Wofford, said. "I mean, I didn't steal the land on my neck part from him, but I told him throughout the week I was going to do it."

The score gave the Badgers a 24-0 cushion that turned out to be more than enough cushion as UW cruised to an easy 37-0 win over the Boilermakers.

"We had watched film all week," Gilbert, who's family was in attendance from Florida, said. "So we knew that we'd have an opportunity to capitalize on that feeling. It was real good to know that I gave my team the opportunity to capitalize on that big play. We needed that momentum to swing.

"To me, that sealed the game for us. We let them know we were a real physical team. We shut them out, but that right there let them know that we had this the whole way."

-The punt block was the first of Gilbert's career and also led to the first touchdown of Henry's career. It also marked the third time UW special teams have been able to score this year (two punt blocks and a fake field goal).

Team notes:

-With the win, UW is now bowl eligible for the eighth consecutive season, a school record. It also marks the second-longest active streak in the Big Ten.

-Saturday's shutout win was the first such result since UW beat San Diego State 14-0 in head coach Bret Bielema's debut. It also marked the school's first Big Ten shutout win since a 59-0 win over Indiana in 1999.

-The last time the Badgers shutout Purdue was in 1955 with a 9-0 slugfest win.

Offensive notes:

-With three more scores today, John Clay has now rushed for 10 touchdowns on the season. It was the first time since the Minnesota game that Clay has found the end zone. His 123-yard performance on 24 carries was his fourth 100-yard performance of the season.

-Lance Kendrick's rushed for 94 yards on four carries. His last four carries were his first four. He also chipped in two receptions for 21 yards that gave him 112 all-purpose yards.

-Nine different Badgers ran the ball in Saturday's win, including two wide receivers and a tight end.

-True freshman Kraig Appleton hauled in his first two receptions of his career in the second half of Saturday's win.

Defensive notes:

-UW held Purdue to just 141 yards of total offense. That is the lowest total since limiting Northern Illinois to 99 offensive yards in 2007.

-The Boilermakers were only able to rush for 60 yards, the lowest opponent total since Michigan State only accumulated 25 rushing yards in 2008.

-UW had struggled getting off the field on third downs in recent weeks. Not on Saturday, however, because the Badgers allowed Purdue to score on only 2-of-16 third-down conversions.

-Through five Big Ten games, the Badgers have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher.

Quotes from the locker room:

Bielema on whether people will be surprised by the final score of Saturday's win:

"Do I think they'll be surprised? Absolutely. But if you ask anybody that's in this football family…just because I know what I see on a daily basis, I know the character we have and I know the coaches. They were very, very disappointed in the past (two losses) that you talked about. I do know that they focus very, very well and they played with a chip and played with a little attitude. I knew it was going to come out."

Culmer St. Jean on if the defense made any mistakes during the shutout win:

"Most people looking at the game thought we played a perfect game. We definitely had a couple of mistakes, but we were playing with enthusiasm and we were playing fast. So we're just cleaning each other up. If I would have made a mistake Jaevery McFadden was there or Borland was there. On the flip side, if the defensive line made a mistake, we were there. We are playing for each other and playing so fast it didn't look like we were making mistakes. But there were a lot out there."

J.J. Watt on the shutout:

"If a team scores zero points, it's a lot of fun. It was definitely one of the more exciting games we played from a defensive standpoint getting all the three and outs and getting the shutout. So it's been fun."

McFadden on the Florida connection on the punt block:

"I didn't even think about that. It's actually Gilbert's birthday today so it's kind of funny. He was saying he was going to jump over the shield like Chris (Borland) and he actually did. He actually got the punt blocked. Aaron came up with the fumble recovery for the touchdown. That was a beautiful thing to watch."

Henry on having something positive happen to him in a season where he's struggled:

"My grandma, she always told me to be patient. Things may not go the way you want them to go and when you want them to go, but eventually they will come around. I just think even though it was a small thing, me picking up a blocked punt and scoring in for a touchdown, it definitely felt like it gave me an opportunity to get the monkey of my back in a sense. Anytime you can score a touchdown period, it definitely gives your team a boost and puts yourself in a position to go out there and win."

Scott Tolzien on the first drive being easy for him:

"Just handing the ball off and get the signal and do it again. It wasn't too hard.

John Clay on the hairstyles going around the team:

"We're trying to get the coaches. We're trying to make a deal with coach Paul Chryst, something to try to get him a design or two in there."

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!