The University of Wisconsin’s football press release included a conspicuous change in format this week: a full page devoted to junior tailback Brian Calhoun, with the header “Heisman Trophy/Doak Walker Award Candidate.”
Calhoun has been discussed in many circles among the favorites for both the Heisman, which goes to college football’s best player, and the Doak Walker, which is awarded to the nation’s top running back. But this was the first significant public relations push from the Badgers.
Among the superlatives noted: Calhoun is No. 3 in the nation in all-purpose yards, averaging 190.7 per game; he is fifth in rushing (141.5 yards per game); fourth in touchdowns with 11; and he leads the nation with 202 touches.
Calhoun touched the ball 34 times for 250 yards and a touchdown in UW’s 51-48 loss at Northwestern Saturday, becoming the first player in school history to gain more than 100 yards rushing and receiving in a single game (23 rushes for 122 yards and the score; 11 catches for 128 yards).
Calhoun has rushed for more than 100 yards in five of six games this season; he ran for 42 yards in the first quarter against Temple in week two but did not play thereafter in a 65-0 blowout.
Calhoun leads the nation’s running backs with 295 receiving yards.
Pociask a player of the week
Despite Calhoun’s latest big game, he was not named one of the Badgers’ team players of the week. Nor was quarterback John Stocco, who passed for 326 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 26 yards, all career highs, though he did throw two interceptions.
Rather, the Badgers’ co-offensive players of the week were wide receiver Jonathan Orr and tight end Jason Pociask. Orr put up some gaudy numbers: five receptions for 87 yards and four touchdowns. Pociask, however, caught just two passes for 18 yards, but also helped clear the way for Calhoun with his run blocking.
This was the second consecutive week Orr was a co-offensive player of the week.
UW’s defensive player of the week was defensive end Joe Monty, who had two tackles and a fumble recovery. It was his second honor of the season.
Punter Ken DeBauche received UW’s special teams player of the week for the third time, after placing two of his three punts Saturday inside the NU 3-yard line and averaging 46.7 yards per punt.
The scout team players of the week were wide receiver T.J. Theus (offense) and safety Jameson Davis (defense).
Still not a hold
During his Monday press conference, UW head coach Barry Alvarez reiterated his feeling that the officials ruled incorrectly when they flagged left tackle Joe Thomas for holding midway through the fourth quarter.
The Badgers punted three plays after the penalty, which erased a 27-yard pass to the NU 14-yard line. The Wildcats scored on their next possession to take a 51-34 lead.
Hogan will avoid surgery
Sophomore second-team sam linebacker Casey Hogan broke the fibula and tibia in his lower right leg late in the third quarter of Saturday’s game. But Alvarez said that Hogan’s injury will not require surgery.
“They’re going to put him in a cast up to his hip for a few weeks and then go to a cast probably just below his knee,” Alvarez said. “I think they feel like that it’ll heal and then just move forward and see where he is. But it was a clean break, both bones.”
With Hogan out, true freshman Jonathan Casillas (6-foot-1, 203 pounds) is listed as the backup to LaMarr Watkins on the strongside. Casillas began his UW career as a strong safety, after missing about two weeks of fall training camp while he recovered from a broken right foot. But Casillas was moved to sam linebacker three weeks ago.
“The more reps he gets, the more familiar he gets with the position,” Alvarez said of Casillas. “But I think he brings speed there. He’s very mature for a true freshman. And we just think that as we get into the season further that he can help.”
Related: Casillas shines on special teams (Oct. 6, premium)
Notable: The 72 points Northwestern and Wisconsin combined to score in the second half of Saturday’s game was the most in a half during the Alvarez era. That bested the 70 points Wisconsin and Bowling Green combined for in the first half of the season opener this year. Prior to this season, the mark was 66, when Northwestern held a 38-28 halftime lead over the Badgers on Oct. 20, 1990…. The 99 points scored total Saturday was the most combined points in a Badger football game since Wisconsin topped UW-Whitewater 106-0 in 1890… Northwestern quarterback Brett Basanez was named Big Ten offensive player of the week after throwing for 361 yards and rushing for 69 yards against Wisconsin… Wildcat linebacker Tim McGarigle was a Big Ten co-defensive player of the week, after posting 25 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks versus Wisconsin.