USC-Wisconsin grades: Stave leads Wisconsin to thrilling win

The top grades and key takeaways from the Badgers' 23-21 win over the Trojans in the Holiday Bowl.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

(AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

USC-Wisconsin grades: Stave leads Wisconsin to thrilling win

Here are the top grades and key takeaways from the Badgers’ 23-21 win over the Trojans in the Holiday Bowl.

Wisconsin Badgers

– Quarterback Joel Stave (+5.4) saved his best for last, as his performance on Wednesday night earned his second-highest grade this season. Although Stave did not complete his only pass attempt 20 or more yards downfield, he was relatively accurate all day, as 76 percent of his passes were on target. He was especially great when he was not under pressure. On the 22 dropbacks where he could work from a clean pocket, he completed 16 passes for 200 yards and a touchdown.

– Wisconsin’s wide receivers also helped out Stave, as three different pass-catchers earned receiving grades above +1.0. Wide receivers Alex Erickson (+1.5) and Robert Wheelwright (+1.5) put together a really solid receiving performance, as well as tight end Austin Traylor (-1.8). While Traylor’s blocking was not up to par, he caught all three of his targets for 47 yards and a touchdown, resulting in an (NFL) passer rating of 158.3. Erickson was also very efficient, as he did not drop any of his five catchable targets and gained 54 yards. Wheelwright did not miss a beat, either, after coming back from injury, and made one of the best catches you will see all bowl season.

– Linebacker Jack Cichy (+4.9) put together one of the most versatile performances you will see, as he graded positively in run defense, pass rush, and pass coverage, as well. His best work came in rushing the passer, as he recorded six total pressures on only 12 pass rushing snaps. While Cichy recorded only two sacks in his college career prior to this game, he had three on consecutive plays on a USC drive in the third quarter.

Top performers:

QB Joel Stave +5.4

LB Jack Cichy +4.9

CB Sojourn Shelton +3.5

FB Derek Watt +2.2

RB Dare Ogunbowale +2.1


USC Trojans

– USC quarterback Cody Kessler (+4.9) was asked to do a lot, due to the team playing from behind in the last minutes of this game. While he did make some impressive throws, it was not enough to lead a comeback. Kessler had seven pass attempts that travelled more than 20 yards from the line of scrimmage, and completed two of those for 64 yards. However, he did struggle a bit under pressure, as he completed only 4-of-11 attempts on these occasions. In addition, his only interception was on a play when the pressure got to him.

– Even if it did not really show up on the stat sheet, defensive tackle Delvon Simmons (+9.8) put together one of the best defensive performances of this bowl season. Although Simmons did bat down one pass, his best work did not come when he was rushing the passer. However, he was impossible to block in the run game, and made life hard for the Wisconsin offensive linemen. It shows how efficient Simmons was that all eight of his tackles were defensive stops.

– Adoree’ Jackson (+0.1) is expected to be one of the most exciting players on the college scene, if he is not already. The sophomore player was used on all three stages of the game, and actually made an impact on offense, defense, and special teams as well. While Jackson allowed four receptions and 48 yards on defense, he did make some impressive plays in coverage. In addition, he caught a couple passes on offense and forced the Wisconsin special teams to attempt pooch kicks on almost all kickoffs in order to avoid him getting his hands on the ball.

Top performers:

DT Delvon Simmons +9.8

DT Antwaun Woods +6.4

QB Cody Kessler +4.9

LB Olajuwon Tucker +3.6

DT Claude Pelon +3.1

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