October 25, 2008

Post-Illinois notes and quotes

MADISON, Wis. - The last time the Wisconsin football team left the Camp Randall field on their way to the locker room, they were showered with boo's and a half-empty stadium. On Saturday, the raucous homecoming crowd drilled them with nothing but cheers and compliments after an exciting 27-17 win over Illinois.

The following are notes from Saturday's game:

-There were plenty of firsts during Saturday's contest:

Dustin Sherer recorded his first career rushing and throwing touchdowns of his Badger career.

Chris Maragos logged his first interception as a member of UW's football team.

John Clay, who finished with 88 yards on 25 carries, enjoyed his first start of his career.

David Gilreath's two touchdown receptions marked the first time in his career where he accomplished that feat.

Garrett Graham finished the game with a career high 79 yards receiving, including a critical 45-yard gain on the game clinching fourth quarter touchdown drive.

-Illinois was held to 309 yards of total offense, a season low for the Illini.

-UW's 27-point total was their highest output since their 51-point explosion against Marshall in week two.

-Coming into the game, Juice Williams averaged just over 345 yards of total offense per game. Following his team's loss on Saturday, Williams had only 225 yards of offense and three turnovers.

-Leading up to the game, head coach Bret Bielema had a looping highlight reel in the locker room of every positive play the Badgers had to this point in the season. Apparently remembering the good times helped the team find their winning ways this week.

Quotes of the day:

Bret Bielema on fan support:

"Obviously the one thing I wanted to start with is thanking our fans. I told our kids through the course of the week there was going to be 80,000 Badger fans ready to have some success with the opportunity to cheer you on and support you. We have a fan base that is very loyal in what they do and what they believe in. They want to win as bad as anybody."

Garrett Graham on the win:

"It's huge. We couldn't really get things rolling for a little while and it's a great feeling to get it back on the winning track and get things going."

Allen Langford on the win:

"We're just excited now. You won one, now you want to go win another one. We're excited to go out there and practice this week. It's great to get that off your shoulders and we're going to have fun with it."

Chris Maragos on his interception return:

"I saw Juice in front of me and then I was running (and) I saw a blocker on him. I saw some more people coming from my right and then I looked and I saw one guy to my left, I think it was Arrelious Benn. I just kind of took it and tried to take it up the sideline and you know, I thought that was my best bet. Everything is going so fast, but yeah, I thought I was going to try to take it, but who knows."

Jay Valai on his presence in the secondary:

"It was just a fun game. Going around and smacking people, you can't ask for anything better than that."

O'Brien Schofield on forcing turnovers:

"That was good for us. That's what we were lacking in our losses, you know, turnovers. To get that kept the defense fired up and kept the offense on the field. They were able to convert on a lot of those turnovers."

DeAndre Levy on containing the Illinois offense:

"We knew kind of what to expect. They got a lot of quick strikes, got a lot of deep balls, quick scores on people this year. We know we had to be sound to be ready for the tempo they were going to bring for us."

Dustin Sherer on his comfort level as quarterback:

"I felt a lot more comfortable. Guys were making plays, too. It's a lot easier when things are going your way. Yeah, I think I grew and hopefully I'll just take it and grow more the next game."

David Gilreath on his 49-yard touchdown re-energizing the offense and turning the season around:

"It could, I think this win maybe turns the season around for us in a good way and gives us some more confidence out there so we can do some things. And maybe coach Paul Chryst knows I can make some big plays or something. We'll see."

John Moffitt on the facial hair this team has:

"I just haven't shaved, I'm glad the camera is not on me. I just have neglected shaving for a while. I think everybody else has, too. Maybe it's just been those rough four weeks. Dre (DeAndre Levy) is working on a Noah's Ark beard or Abraham or something like that."

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