Football: Wisconsin survives Iowa 28-17, salvages hope for Playoff season

first_imgMost games following a season-altering loss are automatically labeled as a chance at redemption, a chance to reassert the program’s winning identity. Saturday night in Iowa City was that chance for Wisconsin football. Wisconsin’s non-conference schedule had faced scrutiny considering the established high caliber the Badgers had proven in recent years, but suddenly they had to re-earn the nation’s respect.I’m not sure they succeeded.Before the season began, Hornibrook’s ability to carry the offense and an unproven secondary were the preconceived sore spots for the top five ranked Badgers. A lackluster pass rush and flimsy offensive line were supposed to be the reliable portions of Wisconsin’s identity.Yet Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley had a surplus of time in the pocket — Hornibrook was attacked from all angles.Yet a Wisconsin defense heralded as elite across the FBS were consistently embarrassed by simple misdirections.Yet Wisconsin defenders proven as gifted tacklers let Iowa slip through their fingers at every turn.Football: Meet Wisconsin’s newest defensive star, Scott NelsonAfter a demoralizing loss to the BYU Cougars, it’s easy to forget the University of Wisconsin football team still has Read…Wisconsin punted their first drive, Iowa’s first drive ended deep in Wisconsin territory only to be stifled on a gutsy but blown fourth down conversion attempt. Iowa surrendered five yards to penalty in the first half, Wisconsin coughed up 28. Passes downfield for Iowa seemed to always find the open receiver, rare Wisconsin heaves were broken up almost easily.By all accounts, unranked Iowa looked the better team at the half, yet the score was tied 7-7. But the once clear shot at redemption had begun to fade. A close victory would prove nothing — if anything it would show Wisconsin didn’t deserve their preseason ranking.Out-gaining Wisconsin was a figment of many opponent’s imagination historically, but midway through the third quarter, Iowa had a 64-yard advantage.But the universe was bent on giving Wisconsin a chance to save face. An unassuming Wisconsin punt somehow resulted in a red zone opportunity after an Iowa defensemen unknowingly kicked the ball. The eventual Danny Davis touchdown was undeserved, but Wisconsin lead 14-10.The lead felt hollow, like it was inevitable Iowa would counter, like the second touchdown should’ve never happened. A few short minutes later, Iowa had comfortably worked their way into the red zone, almost automatically. On queue, it was 17-14 Iowa.AP Poll, you haunting oracle of truthLast week was a very different era. We have all changed so much during this time. I myself was foolish, Read…Wisconsin’s defense no longer felt like an advantage, they felt like a liability. Jonathan Taylor feels out of the Heisman conversation, not the 150+ yard per game workhorse he’d become.The script was there, the chances were frequent, and Wisconsin waited until the last possible moment to take it. A final Wisconsin drive, one we’d been waiting on for more than four quarters, ended in an AJ Taylor touchdown that gave Wisconsin the late lead that took too long to attain.Maybe the preseason critics we called too eager to pass judgement were right — Saturday night proved Wisconsin was still far from earning national respect.A win is a win, but Wisconsin’s late surge cannot be remembered fondly for the team to improve. This was a sloppy game, and one Wisconsin should have handled with more composure than they exhibited.28-17 is your final in Iowa City. Wisconsin heads into a bye week with plenty to mull over.last_img read more

Poland 1-1 Portugal (pens 3-5): Quaresma spotkick sends A Seleccao to semi-final

first_imgRicardo Quaresma scored the decisive penalty in a tense affair between Poland and Portugal to send A Seleccao through to the Euro 2016 semi-finals.Robert Lewandowski handed the Poles the lead moments after kick-off, before wonderkid Renato Sanches rewarded the faith placed in him by manager Fernando Santos by grabbing an equaliser just after the half-hour mark.Portugal recorded a number of further chances without being able to break the deadlock, and after a scrappy 30 minutes of extra-time, the penalty shootout brought glory for Quaresma and his Portuguese teammates.An entertaining affair started early, Lewandowski opening the scoring just two minutes after kick-off.A crossfield ball found its way to Grosicki, aided by Cedric’s mistimed jump, and he had the freedom of the left wing to charge into the area, before cutting the ball back into the centre of the box for the Bayern Munich forward to fire home.The early goal did much to dent Portugal’s concentration, and the White Eagles were finding it easy to dominate the game – although they were failing to make their chances count.Lewandowski twice went close, Milik fired a 20 yard attempt at goal which deflected off Pepe for a corner, and Blaszczykowski sent in a low cross after a lovely team move which no one could get on the end of.They were comfortable, but profligacy came back to haunt them.Portugal were starting to rack up chances of their own; Glik cleared an Adrian Silva cross and Ronaldo created space on the edge of the box before firing a low shot which Fabianski stopped well.Ronaldo then had what appeared to be a blatant penalty turned down after Pazdan shoved him into the ground, but the goal did come just minutes later.Renato Sanches, who had looked impressive in the opening stages despite Portugal’s struggles, picked up the ball from Nani, cut in from the right and shifted the ball onto his left foot.In a fraction of a second, he drove the ball towards goal with his weaker foot, and a deflection off Krychowiak sent it flying past the outstretched Fabianski.Sanches, aided by a confidence boost, then tore into the box with exceptional skill, only to be blocked by Maczynski.Portugal’s growing control of the game continued into the second period, Adrian Silva sending a cross into the box which Fabianski dropped under pressure from Ronaldo.The Real Madrid superstar then had one of his clearest goalscoring chances of the tournament, driving into the left side of the box ahead of the Poland defence.Although he was in a wide position, Ronaldo was one-on-one with Fabianski, but he could only lash the shot wide of the near post.Eliseu then had a long range attempt saved, and Ronaldo miskicked a Nani cross which set him up with a great opportunity in the centre of the area; Adrian Silva’s follow-up shot was blocked on the edge of the box.Cedric flashed a long-range attempt wide, in a second half Poland were failing to get into.They were chasing the ball in the middle of the park, conceding a number of chances, and failing to create any of their own.It took until the 70th minute for the Poles to register their first clear chance of the half, Milik directing a cross from close range into Rui Patricio’s grateful gloves.Grosicki fired over from long range when better options were ahead of him, and as the game became more open, Pepe headed towards goal for Fabianski to save.Jedrzejczyk also went close to firing past his own keeper, his clearance flying just wide of the Polish goal as Fabianski struggled to reach his post.Further chances came and went, and the game passed into a period of extra time in which Ronaldo had another airshot minutes after the restart, totalling his third wasted chance of the game.Quaresma, Sanches and Nani all had attempts stopped, whilst Poland grabbed a rare chance, Milik wasting another long-range shot.A pitch invader, 10 minutes from time, was the most interesting moment of a scrappy 30 minutes, as penalties came around to decide the game.And it was Quaresma who scored the decisive spotkick, sending A Seleccao through to a semi-final against Wales or Belgium. 1 Ricardo Quaresma sent Portugal to the semi-finals last_img read more