November 20, 2010

Notes and quotes: Post Michigan

ANN ARBOR - Jay Valai said J.J. Watt looked like a basketball player when he batted Denard Robinson's fourth quarter pass into the air.

Watt, who later completed the play with an interception, was just happy he made such a critical play in a game that was going back and forth.

"I was talking to O'Brien Schofield before the year and his quote he always told me was big time players make big time plays in big time games," Watt said. "That's what I've been trying to do. Obviously today that was a big one for us, but everybody doing their job on every play is what creates success."

That interception, one that occurred early in the fourth quarter with UW holding on to a 34-21 lead, gave the Badger offense an opportunity to go down the field and wide what was already 13-point margin.

Watt thought he was going to be able to take care of business himself.

"I thought for about two seconds," Watt said when asked whether he though he would score. "But then I realized they had No. 16 on their side and he's pretty quick. I was talking to him after the game and I said you got me pretty good.

"He said, 'Yeah, I'm fast."

With his team in a dogfight for conference supremacy with Michigan State and Ohio State (pending the outcome of its game with Iowa), Wisconsin absolutely needed to beat Michigan to have any shot of earning the title.

Watt knew that and he proved it with his play on the field. He finished the game with six tackles, one pass breakup and the aforementioned interception. He was simply phenomenal.

"J.J. Watt is incredible," head coach Bret Bielema said. "He's a big play guy. He gets those big paws in the air and he's just a dominant player. You could just see him at the end dig down deeper. He was going to get to that quarterback there on those last couple of rushes."


-Both Montee Ball and James White established new career highs with their performances at Michigan. Ball finished the game with 173 yards on 29 carries and four touchdowns. White finished the contest with 181 yards on 23 carries with two scores.

-At one point, Scott Tolzien had completed 24-straight passes. His interception at the end of the first half was his first misfire since the Indiana game. Following that play, Tolzien only attempted one more pass. He finished the game 14-of-15 for 201 yards.

-Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson set the NCAA all-time record for rushing yards by a quarterback. The sophomore signal caller now has 1,538 yards rushing and 2,229 yards passing. He is the first quarterback in NCAA history to pass and rush for 1,500-plus yards in a given season.

-Aaron Henry led Wisconsin with 10 tackles, including eight solo.

-The Badgers offense racked up 558 yards of total offense. Of those 558 yards, 376 came via the ground. In doing so, the Badgers held the ball for 36 minutes and 59 seconds.

-Over the past two games Wisconsin has scored 131 points.


Bret Bielema on when he was able to rest easy:

"I didn't rest easy until there were no more timeouts and we could call victory. Any time you can call victory and take that knee is a very, very special feeling. Especially in a place like here."

Henry on the importance of this win:

"It's huge for us. This is my first time in the Big House and most of the players wanted to go out there and get it for coach Bielema. This game is very serious to him because he lost his sister when he was playing back in college during this game. So this was something that all the players knew about. We just wanted to go out there and play not only for us, and not only for Badger nation, but also for our head coach."

Mike Taylor on whether he ever thought UW would shut out Michigan in the first half:

"No, but that's just us playing our football and being responsible. We were having fun out there, really.:

Watt on his play in the fourth quarter:

"In the fourth quarter the coaches gave me freedom. That's what I was looking for all game and they gave me the freedom in the fourth quarter. I got off the ball a little too early that one play. I never got there, but I put some good pressure on them."

Bradie Ewing on his onside kick recovery:

"Coach Joe Rudolph kind of alerted us to it just because they were starting to come back a little bit. They showed on film that they'd come back with something, a squib kick or a sky kick or something. He alerted us to it and I was just kind of in the right position. There were just a couple of guys there that tried to jump on it and it all worked out."

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