A stressful sports weekend

Thatcher, Torrin

The first weekend of school is usually a time to relax, maybe hit up a party or two, and get together with some folks for a good time. But as any sports fan can tell you, there is no such thing as a relaxing weekend in the world of sports. Let us start with pigskin.
Bret Bielema and the Badgers played in Ann Arbor to show their dominance against the lowly Michigan Wolverines.
Michigan did not look good during the first few weeks, and Wisconsin hoped to get a win on the road. It looked promising after Michigan could not hold onto the ball. Philip Welch booted four field goals — 21, 42, 41 and 52 yards — and John Clay found the end zone to make it a 19-0 lead at halftime.
Michigan had 20 total offensive yards in the first half, and it was thought they would continue with their woeful ways. Oh, how things changed in the second half in the Big House.
Michigan put together two touchdown drives of at least 80 yards and picked off a brutal throw by Allan Evridge and took it in for six. Suddenly, Michigan was up 20-19 and looking for more. Michigan’s 6-foot-6-inch quarterback, Steven Threet, busted a 58-yard run to the Badgers red zone that led to another touchdown for the Wolverines.
The Badgers needed to answer back, and they almost did. Wisconsin moved the ball down to the 5-yard line of the home team, but Evridge lost a fumble when sacked on third down. Wisconsin’s defense stepped up and forced the Wolverines to punt.
Evridge made some nice tosses to move the ball down the field, and eventually found tiny David Gilreath in the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown. With the score now 27-25, the Badgers needed a two-point conversion to force the game into overtime.
On the attempt, Travis Beckum caught the ball and all looked well in Badger land, but there was a yellow hanky on the field. Ineligible man downfield was the call, and the Badgers had to retry; this attempt saw the ball fly out of bounds.
With 13 seconds remaining, the Badgers attempted an onside kick, but the ball did not travel the necessary distance.
Michigan knelt the ball, and that was the game; it was the biggest comeback — 19 points — in their home field history while also being the 500th game played. The Badgers have not won at Michigan since 1994 — thank you Darrell Bevell.
Maybe the Packers’ run defense does not get a good look in practice because of how terrible our running game is? We cannot run the ball or stop the run, and that is not a good thing when we have Atlanta coming up on the schedule.
Anyway, the game against the Buccaneers was a tight one the whole way through; if only we could have run the ball to control the clock. After finding Greg Jennings for a score — thank you Ronde for falling down — in the first quarter, the Packers offense did not do much to help the defense.
The Bucs scored 20 unanswered points, and things were looking rough toward the end of the third quarter. Thankfully, Aaron Rodgers fit the ball in a tight spot and watched Jennings take the ball in for a score once more.
Rodgers then left the game with a right shoulder injury, and fans saw Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn warming up — it even feels bad to type that sentence.
With the Bucs leading 20-14 and with the ball, Charles Woodson took an interception back to give the Packers a 21-20 lead in the beginning of the fourth.
With Rodgers now out of the game after trying to come back in — he was hit hard on an interception by Gaines Adams — the Packers looked like a high school team on offense and could not do anything.
The Bucs got a field goal from Matt Bryant and a late touchdown run by Earnest Graham to get a nine-point cushion with less than two minutes remaining. A Rodger-less offense could not move the ball, and the clock hit all zeros.
The word on Rodgers is a shoulder sprain, and he should be ready for Atlanta this Sunday.
The weekend could not have been a complete wash, right? Right!
Needless to put into many words, the Brewers are back in the playoffs for the first time since 1982 — I am thinking acquiring Sabathia and a guy named Braun helped.
Braun hit two monster home runs in the last four games, Sabathia pitched like a Cy Young guy, and other pitchers came up big for this Dale Sveum-led ballclub. With fans hanging on every pitch in Miller Park and Shea Stadium, the Brew Crew made the big plays and wrapped up the wild card.
By the time this column hits print, two games will have already been played. Let’s hope we can take one of those away from the Phils and get two in Milwaukee in front of what I am sure will be a rocking crowd!
It is definitely not easy being a sports fan in Wisconsin. Injured quarterbacks, big home runs, no running game, no run defense, tight ballgames and mental penalties all led to a gripping weekend. Let’s hope there is more to come!

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