Wisconsin Football: Handing out game balls from win over Northwestern

Wisconsin football came out victorious after another hard-fought game with the Northwestern Wildcats. Here are three Badgers who earned game balls for their performances.

Wisconsin football always to seems to struggle and play close games with Northwestern. It was no different this year, even after three games where they rolled through their opponents. Although I would have preferred if the Badgers dominated the game, I think it is good for them to face some adversity.

The defense was as stout as they have been all season, but this time the offense struggled a little bit. In fact, the defense out-scored the offense, something I don’t think I’ve ever seen from a Wisconsin football team.

Game Ball No. 1 – Chris Orr

Chris Orr was everywhere on Saturday. He was constantly in on tackles as well as harassing the quarterback. He finished the day with 9 total tackles, two tackles for a loss, a sack, a forced fumble, and three quarterback hurries.

As a reward for his great game, he was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week.

Orr stepped up in a big way for the Badgers. They were without one of their leading tacklers, freshman Leo Chenal, who missed the game with a head injury. He and Jack Sanborn had a great game that picked up the struggling offense and locked down the win to go 4-0.

Game Ball No. 2 – Matt Henningsen

The big man did it again for the defense. When this Wisconsin football team was struggling to get on the board, Henningsen recovered a fumble off of a strip-sack from safety Reggie Pearson and returned it for his second touchdown of the season.

Henningsen also chipped in with three tackles and a sack. Last season, Henningsen was forced into action after Rand and Loudermilk missed the season with injuries, and I think that really set him up well for this season. He has provided some solid depth on the defensive line that this Wisconsin football squad was lacking last season.

Game Ball No. 3 – Collin Wilder

Wilder started this game because of the first-half suspensions of both starting safeties after targeting penalties against Michigan last weekend. Wisconsin is loaded with depth at the safety position, so even though Scott Nelson was lost for the season and Pearson and Burrell both missed the first half of the game on Saturday, they were in good hands with Collin Wilder.

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He more than held his own. He finished the game with five tackles, a sack and 1.5 tackles for a loss. Alongside his solid tackling pass rush, he was pretty good in coverage as well, breaking up 2 passes.

His sack came at a great time in the game. Northwestern had the ball with 1:42 left. On 3rd and 10, Wilder blitzed off the edge and got home, sacking Aidan Smith and forcing a 4th and 19, which the Wildcats couldn’t convert, allowing the Badgers to kneel the clock out.

Wilder has been a nice addition via transfer. With injuries to Nelson and Madison Cone, it’s comforting knowing Wilder is available to play.

All stats courtesy of ESPN.com

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