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Calhoun takes down Falcons

September 17, 2020 | By admin | No Comments | Filed in: idcoqljmx.

first_imgMATTHEW KUTZ/Herald photoBrian Calhoun didn’t take long to make his presence felt as a Wisconsin Badger. Playing in his first game in nearly two seasons, the junior running back and Colorado transfer rushed for 258 yards and five touchdowns on 43 carries to lead Wisconsin to a 56-42 win over Bowling Green in the team’s season opener.In doing so, Calhoun racked up more rushing yards in a debut performance at UW than any tailback in school history. He tied the Wisconsin rushing touchdown record while surpassing his previous career rushing high, 137 yards, by the second quarter.“I was excited to get out there,” Calhoun said. “The first few plays I had a few butterflies, but after we kept moving the ball, I really became more comfortable with the game.”At the same time, the Oak Creek native managed to steal the spotlight from Falcons quarterback and Heisman trophy candidate Omar Jacobs, who passed for 458 yards and five touchdowns in the loss despite directing his team to a 13-0 first-quarter lead.Jacobs began the game completing 11 of his first 12 passes for a pair of touchdowns to spot Bowling Green the early advantage.“I think Jacobs, he lives up to his billing,” UW head coach Barry Alvarez said. “He’s exceptional, a lot of poise, knows where to go with the ball. They (the Falcons) create a lot of problems.”Wisconsin responded on its second possession, with Calhoun rushing for 42 yards on a drive capped by a 21-yard touchdown strike from John Stocco to wide receiver Jonathan Orr. Stocco had missed part of the scoring drive after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit from Falcon corner Antonio Smith on a first-down scramble.“That was a prime example of an illegal play,” Alvarez said of the hit. “For a player to get hit with the helmet, unprotected like that, that’s a penalty. John needs to learn how to go down. He needs to slide and not take a hit.”Stocco’s touchdown toss was the first of five Badger touchdowns in the second quarter, an offensive explosion that yielded the most points in one quarter during the Barry Alvarez era.Not surprisingly, Calhoun led the way, rushing for 106 yards and three touchdowns in the quarter. An 85-yard kickoff return from Brandon Williams set up another Wisconsin score, an eight-yard plunge from fullback Matt Bernstein.However, Jacobs kept Bowling Green in the shootout with some fireworks of his own, engineering a trio of touchdown drives for the Falcons in the second quarter. A Jacobs touchdown pass to senior Steve Sanders, the duo’s second scoring connection of the contest, tied the game at 35-35 with just four seconds remaining in the first half.After the break, though, Calhoun put a stranglehold on the match-up. The UW defense did its part as well, allowing the Falcons just one yard of offense in the third quarter.“Our defense did what they had to do the first few possessions of the second half to get the ball back for us,” Alvarez said.Meanwhile, a Wisconsin offensive line featuring three new starters continued to open gaping holes for Calhoun and backup tailback Booker Stanley, who rushed for 103 yards in his reserve capacity. The duo combined for all 66 yards on the Badgers’ opening drive of the second stanza, with Calhoun capping the march with his fourth score.“It was to a point where (the offensive line would) come back to the sidelines saying they wanted to run every play,” Calhoun said. “Because we knew that we were having the mentality of finishing and Bowling Green’s defense really didn’t have an answer for us so we just kept pounding.”After consecutive sacks by Nick Hayden and Mark Zalewski forced a Bowling Green punt, Calhoun and Stanley went back to work, racking up 51 yards on the ground on a drive that spanned 5:39. This time, however, Stanley did the honors, breaking a 15-yard scamper to pay-dirt to give Wisconsin a two-touchdown advantage it would never relinquish.Calhoun went on to add another rushing score early in the fourth quarter to tie the school record, joining Anthony Davis and Billy Marek as the only Badgers ever to rush for five touchdowns in a single game.Jacobs, on the other hand, endured his share of struggles after the break, completing just 10 of his 22 attempts and throwing his first interception of the season. He did find Charles Sharon for a 20-yard touchdown following Calhoun’s final score to keep the Falcons in the game. However, the UW defense did enough in the second half to seal the victory for the Badgers in a very atypical contest.“You get in shootouts sometimes, and if you walk out of there with a win, that’s great,” Alvarez said. “There’s a lot of different ways to win games. I’m pleased with the win. But if we can build off the good things, the important thing is that we correct a number of the mistakes that we made. But I think this will help us. This should help this team.”last_img read more

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