Run and Shoot: First Half Recap: An unexpected shootout

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First Half Recap: An unexpected shootout

MADISON, Wisc. -- The Badgers and Spartans are setting off fireworks in their contest, with a combined 48 first-half points. Both offenses are playing determined football, but the defenses have also failed to capitalize on mistakes and slow down the opposing running game.

What Wisconsin has done well: move the football
The Badgers offense has been superb. P.J. Hill is gaining ground and Tyler Donovan is making every pass imaginable. On the long touchdown to Kyle Jefferson, Donovan put the ball on the money despite a face full of white-and-green jersey. All game long the Badgers have moved the ball with ease.

What it hasn't: put the Spartans away
Wisconsin has had its chances, but it has failed to make the most of its efforts. As well as it has moved the ball, it has failed to complete several drives. On one potential scoring drive, a Donovan pass skipped off the fingers of Jefferson and into the arms of Spartan defensive back T.J. Williams. The Badger defense had opportunities to kill Spartan drives but has failed (although the front line played much better near the end of the half).


What Michigan State has done well: run the football
Jehuu Caulcrick has been a bull around the goal line, and he's made some important pickups. On a third and five at Michigan State's own seven-yard line, Caulcrick ran through the middle of the Badger defense for a key 22-yard gain. And the Badgers have no answer for Javon Ringer's speed when he breaks free from the line.

What it hasn't: take away downfield passing
Too often in the first half Donovan has found open targets deep downfield, and with little time to work with. The Spartan pass rush is doing its job, but coverage is not holding up its end of the bargain.

Other notes:

Banged-up Badger cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu removed himself from action early in the second quarter. The Badger depth is young, but talented in the secondary.

Jefferson took a devastating hit from Michigan State's Nehemiah Warrick near the end of the first half. He left the field on his feet, but did not return. The Badgers are thin at receiver as is, and cannot afford to be without him in the second half.

Two players were ejected after a scuffle -- Wisconsin's Marcus Randle El and Michigan State's Chris Rucker.

At the half P.J. Hill has 20 carries for 110 yards for the Badgers. Teammate Travis Beckum has nine catches for 121 yards and a score. Michigan State's Devin Thomas has 110 total yards of offense on just three touches.

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