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Badgers football: Tom Oates grades Wisconsin's performance vs. Southern Cal
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Badgers football: Tom Oates grades Wisconsin's performance vs. Southern Cal

From the Holiday Bowl Central: Badgers vs. USC series
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Adoree' Jackson, Alex Erickson

Wisconsin wide receiver Alex Erickson gets away from Southern California cornerback Adoree' Jackson during the first half of the Holiday Bowl NCAA college football game Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Offense • B

The running game was good enough to make the play-action passing effective. Corey Clement and Dare Ogunbowale were a nice tailback tandem until Clement got hurt. Joel Stave was efficient and stayed away from the big mistake. Robert Wheelwright's one-handed catch was amazing.

Defense • B

UW's penetration along the line gave USC fits. Jack Cichy sacked Cody Kessler on all three plays in one drive and hit Kessler's arm on Sojourn Shelton's game-clinching interception. Michael Caputo made some nice plays in coverage. Darius Hillary is way too experienced to line up offside.

Special teams • C

Rafael Gaglianone was 3-for-3 on field goals. A USC punt went through Arrington Farrar's legs after Alex Erickson waved it off. Farrar has to be more alert. If you kick off short and high, you can't allow returns of 26 and 32 yards. Drew Meyer had a 31-yard punt at a critical time.

Coaching • B-plus

The play-action pass to Austin Traylor across the formation was well-designed and perfectly timed. Alex Erickson hurt USC from th slot. Dave Aranda drew up some effective blitzes with inside linebackers Cichy and Chris Orr. A blitz that failed to get home led to a 34-yard catch.

Overall • B

The Badgers took the early lead, let the Trojans back into it before winning a close game on Gaglianone's late field goal and Shelton's pick. UW's first win over a team with a winning record was as satisfying a victory as it has had since, well, last year's bowl victory over Auburn.

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