Donovan has rough day against Tennessee ‘D’

first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoTAMPA, Fla. ? Thrashing about the field as though a bounty sat on Tyler Donovan?s head, Tennessee emerged victorious in the Outback Bowl thanks not so much to any traditional bursts of SEC speed, but rather courtesy of a punishing combination of physical hits in the grand Big Ten tradition.While Wisconsin?s response to the Volunteers? modified spread offense occasionally resembled chickens with their heads cut off, the winning squad put on an open-field clinic in crushing blows. And never was this more evident than with 7:33 left in the first quarter, when Donovan crossed the goal line only to be greeted by a helmet-to-helmet shot.?I was very upset that the helmet-to-helmet [wasn?t penalized] ? one of the issues that we?ve gone over as coaches and been warned about is any helmet-to-helmets are going to be called,? UW head coach Bret Bielema said following the game. ?And the back judge did the proper thing and apologized that he missed the call.?In an apparent reference to the day?s Mountain West officiating crew, Bielema went on to further express his dismay toward the non-call.?I can guarantee you that I?m never going to schedule a game that?s officiated by WAC officials, that?s for sure,? Bielema said.The pinball treatment of Donovan?s head was apparent well in advance of Bielema?s comments; several downs prior to the quarterback?s brief exit from the game due to an unidentified leg injury, backup Allan Evridge could be seen warming up on the sideline. While a three-pronged rushing assault had long been expected, Donovan?s completion total was almost tripled by the number of Badger rushing efforts on the day, as dropping back into the pocket became an increasingly sadomasochistic proposition.The Wisconsin quarterback was sacked three times in the game ? three more than Tennessee?s Erik Ainge ? and not one of the assaults on Donovan appeared even remotely pedestrian in nature. He spent much of the first half standing in the crosshairs of a rabid Volunteer defensive line, and by the time the fourth quarter rolled around, he appeared little more than a fraction of his once confident self. Making matters worse, Donovan was forced to rush nine times ? few of them voluntary ? in a domino-style tribute to a prime display of SEC-style coverage schemes.Tossing the ball downfield often meant laying out a teammate for an immediate dose of Southern discomfort. As a result, running backs P.J. Hill, Zach Brown and Lance Smith accounted for some 30 carries on the ground while Donovan unobtrusively went 14-for-25, throwing for just 155 yards and heaving a game-ending interception late in the fourth quarter.?Tennessee was definitely getting after me and you have to give them credit ? that?s what they got to do with the type of quarterbacks like me,? Donovan said. ?Eventually I think the refs kind of cued in a little bit and kind of were looking for some cheap shots.?By then, the damage may have been done. A once poised and confidant Badger squad failed to score a touchdown in the second half, being completely shut out in the fourth quarter. Donovan completed just two of seven passes in the third quarter, and would only find an open receiver once more before Wisconsin began its ill-fated final drive of the game with 1:19 to go.?Today we don?t win that football game unless our defense has that kind of courage and toughness,? Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer said.last_img