Williams takes spot atop record books

first_imgSenior wide receiver Brandon Williams continues to etch his name into the UW record books.The St. Louis native, who sets a new Badger record with every kickoff yard that he amounts, also set two more records in Wisconsin’s 31-20 victory over Purdue Saturday when he made a 29-yard reception in the first quarter.That catch was his 176th career pass reception, surpassing the mark set by former Badger, and current Buffalo Bills’ receiver, Lee Evans. Williams finished the game with two catches for 40 yards.”Both of those guys have been really good receivers here, and Brandon has just made a ton of big plays here, not only this year, but throughout his career,” quarterback John Stocco said. “Look for him to keep doing that.””It was cool, I got it in the first quarter and got that out of the way,” Williams said of the record. “I’m just happy we won.”The early catch also made Williams the first player in UW history to tally at least 500 receiving yards in four different seasons.He had 663 yards in his first year on campus, 649 as a sophomore and 517 a year ago. Williams now has 177 receptions for 2,361 yards in his career at UW.The wide receiver wasn’t the only one setting marks Saturday, however, as junior running back Brian Calhoun became the first Badger player since 2002 to run for 1,000 yards in a season.Calhoun had 20 carries for 62 yards as well as two touchdown catches, giving him 16 touchdowns on the year. He has run the ball 219 times for 1,021 yards this season.Depleted defensive line gets job done: With a heavily depleted defensive line, it was anyone’s guess as to who would be seeing reps for the Badgers Saturday.Justin Ostrowski, who was injured in camp and hadn’t played all season, practiced without contact this week and found himself on the defensive front. The sophomore made his only tackle on his first play as a Badger.Junior defensive end Joe Monty was banged up in last weekend’s game, and practiced one day, but played and made four tackles. Sophomore end Kurt Ware practiced Friday, and got in the game and made two tackles.”It was a crapshoot knowing how many plays you could get out of those guys,” head coach Barry Alvarez said. “Obviously they must have done some things well and they held up okay.”Freshman end Matthew Shaughnessy continued to impress the coaching staff with his efforts. After playing every snap on defense against Minnesota, he played a big part again against the Boilermakers, making six tackles, breaking up one pass and notching one quarterback hurry.”[He] just keeps showing up to me,” Alvarez said. “I think [he’s] going to be a great player someday. Man, does he play hard. I think he’s going to be a big-time player and he’s playing particularly well right now.”Freshman tackle Mike Newkirk also had a big day. Not only did he make six tackles, but he forced and recovered a fumble early in the fourth quarter with Purdue marching into the red zone.Crooks reemerges at ‘backer: At the end of last season, Andy Crooks emerged as a solid linebacker, garnering more and more attention down the stretch, and finishing the season with an 11-yard interception return for a touchdown in the Outback Bowl.Many thought that Crooks –just a freshman at the time — would provide spark and leadership in the future in the middle of the Wisconsin defense.But that was not the case. Crooks had played all seven games heading into Saturday’s meeting with Purdue, but was relegated to special teams and was noticeably absent from the UW defense.However, defensive coordinator Bret Bielema thought prior to the game that Crooks might just get his chance to re-emerge against Purdue.”I knew he was mentally into the game,” Bielema said. “I put on his test on Friday ‘Don’t be surprised if your opportunity comes tomorrow.'”Crooks got his chance, though it was not how Bielema had envisioned it. When junior linebacker Mark Zalewski went down early in the game, Crooks had to step in.The sophomore both stepped in and stepped up, as he was third on the team with seven tackles.Bielema said Zalewski was expected to be back this week, but either way, Crooks showed he is again ready to make a difference.”A lot of people were probably concerned about Andy,” Bielema said. “I never was.”last_img

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