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Chris Orr - UW vs. Kent State

Wisconsin linebacker Chris Orr tackles Kent State quarterback Dustin Crum in the second quarter of the Badgers' 48-0 win over the Golden Flashes on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison. Orr finished with five tackles on the day. 

Being spread out hasn’t hurt the University of Wisconsin football team’s defense this season.

In fact, four of its five games this season have come against teams intent on forcing the eighth-ranked Badgers to defend all over the field. Saturday’s matchup with Kent State at a rainy Camp Randall Stadium was no different, as the Golden Flashes put UW in a situation to use its nickel package of two defensive linemen, four linebackers and five defensive backs almost exclusively.

Even with one less lineman on the field, UW’s front six answered the call and shut down Kent State’s run game in a 48-0 romp that marked the Badgers’ final non-conference game of the regular season.

Defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard picked his spots to bring pressure, but trusted the interior of the defense to corral Kent State’s backfield.

“We felt pretty confident. Every week, that’s the goal, knock out the run,” senior linebacker Chris Orr said. “It would just be a different way of doing it, but we definitely felt good about it.”

Orr finished with five tackles, tied with cornerback Faion Hicks for the team lead.

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Kent State finished with 60 net yards rushing on 28 attempts. That total was reduced by 47 yards lost via sacks, but even when the Golden Flashes tried to get its ground game going, UW (5-0) closed rushing lanes quickly.

“It was a lot of fun today. Guys were free getting around, credit that to the defensive line, they played a hell of a game today. They really dominated up front,” inside linebacker Jack Sanborn said.

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The defensive line also got a boost from the return of sophomore nose tackle Bryson Williams, who played for the first time since the season opener against South Florida.

The performance was another test passed for a defense that has seen a variety of spread looks through the first five games.

“I thought we did a really good job. We mentally and physically did a really good job for what we were going to get,” defensive lineman Garrett Rand said. “We knew what they were going to do and we did our job.”

Dunn scores first TD

Edgewood High School product Jack Dunn scored the first touchdown of his UW career against Kent State, cashing in on the first play of the fourth quarter.

The punt returner and reserve wide receiver took a jet-sweep handoff and cruised in untouched from the 3-yard line.

It’s been a tough couple of weeks for Dunn as a returner — he fumbled to set up a Northwestern touchdown last week and nearly lost a fumble Saturday — but he was able to contribute offensively with a second-half catch as well.

UW coach Paul Chryst said tailbacks Jonathan Taylor and Garrett Groshek called for Dunn to get the handoff on the goal line.

“He works so hard at practice each and every single day, and he is a really vital part of this team,” Taylor said. “I don’t know if you guys saw the sideline, but we were jumping up and down.”

Bucky!

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