Stave with strong performance in spring game while Cardinal defense shines

By: uwbadgers.com
By: uwbadgers.com

MADISON, Wis. -- The offense's successes were easy to see, but it was a series of small victories that made it the defense's day.

The Cardinal team, composed of Wisconsin's defensive unit, forced their offensive counterparts on the White squad to go three-and-out on three straight possessions around halftime, a swing that -- given the game's unique scoring system -- proved to be the difference in a 61-47 win in front of 12,050 fans Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium.

Forcing the offense to go three-and-out was worth three points for the Cardinal squad, which used the series of defensive stops to turn a 42-37 deficit late in the second quarter into a 46-42 lead early in the third period.

Scoring opportunities were hard to come by for the offense in the second half, which featured a pair of 10-minute quarters and a running clock.

A pair of sacks by DL Pat Muldoon and DB Joe Schobert late in the fourth put things out of reach for the White squad.

Schobert led the way for the Cardinal with seven total tackles, including the sack, a number matched by LB Marcus Trotter. Muldoon was one of three Cardinal players with six stops, including a pair of tackles-for-loss.

Despite the offense's late drought, the White squad wasn't without headliners of its own.

Sophomore QB Joel Stave went 15-for-20 for 161 yards through the air and connected with FB Derek Watt on a 5-yard touchdown pass midway through the second quarter.

"It's fun always getting to play in front of fans," Stave said. "It was a really nice crowd today. It's always fun to throw in front of people like that."

Sophomore RB Melvin Gordon shouldered most of the load on the ground, carrying 17 times for 74 yards and an 11-yard TD run in the first quarter. Gordon also had four catches for 39 receiving yards.

"Overall, I think we did good on offense," Gordon said. "Our receivers stepped up, definitely, and they made plays, so I'm happy."

Kenzel Doe was a favorite target of Stave and senior QB Curt Phillips, who went 8-for-13 for 82 yards. Doe hauled in a game-high eight passes for 93 yards. Sophomore WR Jordan Fredrick caught three passes for 35 yards.

"Kenzel had a really good spring all around," Stave said. "He just continues to get better. He's a very athletic kid, so when he can get the ball in a space he can really make some good things happen."

The offense's other "conventional" points came off the leg of junior K Kyle French, who was good on field goal attempts from 27 and 24 yards.

For the Badgers -- both the offensive and defensive units -- the attention turns to summer conditioning, which begins in June. Before they know it, they'll be back in Camp Randall for the start of fall camp in August.

"A lot of really good learning came from this spring," Stave said. "It was a really good building block for the team we can be this fall."


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