Pressley enjoys big day, thank you very much
MADISON Early in the second quarter, University of Wisconsin running back P.J. Hill broke off the longest run of his short but illustrious career—a 72-yard dash that ended in the Northern Illinois end zone.
But it might not have been the most memorable UW touchdown of the day. That distinction went to Chris Pressley, the burly Badger fullback, who made it 21-0 with a 10-yard score scoring run. It was the first of his career.
“Coach let me know what he was going to do,” Pressley said. “That was very exciting. I wanted to get there, because the opportunity might not come again.”
The Badgers featured a versatile rushing attack against Northern Illinois. Hill went for 184 yards on 21 carries, but five other players had at least 10 yards on the ground, adding up to 331 rushing yards on 55 carries.
Pressley, who said he was prepared to see more carries Saturday, flew home to New Jersey last week to attend a double funeral for his grandmother and uncle, who both died unexpectedly.
“I did think about it, but I really wanted to step out there and do what I could do,” Pressley said. “I just focused the best I could.”
Pressley also had a 6-yard reception from Tyler Donovan, also a career first. UW coach Bret Bielema praised Pressley’s career day, calling it a “rarity”.
“I told ‘Press’ after he scored that touchdown he should buy a lottery ticket,” Bielema joked.
Welcome back, Hub
Pressley’s catch was reason for him to celebrate, but the most important catch of the day for UW came earlier in the game. Donovan completed just 11 passes, and one of them landed in the arms of Paul Hubbard, one of two starting wide receivers who have missed significant time for the Badgers.
Hubbard suffered a knee injury against UNLV on Sept. 8, and he missed five games before getting a few reps against the Huskies. His one catch came along the right sideline, good for 14 yards and a first down.
“I do feel a little bit rusty,” Hubbard said. “It is a game situation, we try to get as much as we can in practice, but it’s not the same until you step on the field in an actual game.”
With Luke Swan out for the season with a hamstring injury, Bielema said it was good to have the Badgers’ No. 1 receiver back. He knew going in the Badgers were going to be cautious with Hubbard in his return.
“Because of the flow of the game, the one thing we wanted to do was get him involved. We didn’t figure he was going to be (playing) every down.”
- Hill left the field early for halftime, saying afterward he took a hit to the knee from a Husky helmet. Hill needed three stitches, but remained in the game.
- On the game’s opening kickoff, NIU tailback Ricky Crider broke his left leg. He was carted off the field by ambulance and taken to University Hospital.
- Left guard Kevin Skatrud (Brodhead) and defensive tackle Dan Keller (Racine) started for the Huskies, the only two Wisconsin natives to play in the game against UW.
- The game’s attendance of 81,883 fans didn’t take much a dive from past weeks, despite featuring a non-Big Ten opponent.
- With its sixth win, Wisconsin is bowl eligible. A bowl appearance would mark the sixth in as many years for Wisconsin, and the 11th in the last 12 seasons.