StaTuesday: Badgers targets, penalties and plus-territory punts in 2018

Wisconsin‘s 2018 season obviously did not go as planned.

In the offseason, two of the receivers thought to be a key part of the Badgers were Quintez Cephus and Zander Neuville. Cephus missed the entire season due to a suspension and Neuville was injured early and played only a handful of snaps.

A.J. Taylor emerged as the No. 1 receiver — at least when Alex Hornibrook was at quarterback. Taylor was third among targets when Jack Coan was under center, with Danny Davis the leader and tight end Jake Ferguson second.

Davis ended up with the most targets on Wisconsin — although that was augmented by his 13 targets in the regular-season finale against Minnesota. No other Badgers player had double-digit targets in a game; Taylor had nine in the season opener vs. Western Kentucky.

We have all the season targets in chart form, but below that we also list every penalty committed by the Badgers (who averaged 6.1 per game; the previous high, including postseason games, since 2008 is 5.8 per game in 2015. In that span, they averaged 5+ per game 3 other times — 5.4 in 2017, 5.3 in 2009 and 5.3 in 2008.)

Finally, at the end of the story we list all the punts from plus-territory Wisconsin had in the regular season, with the end result for the opposing team and the Badgers’ next drive.

An explanation of the target chart:

— Targeted includes interceptions and plays lost due to penalty

— Drops can be subjective, but mainly for road games as Wisconsin does list dropped passes in its play-by-play sheets.

— Lost/Pen means a catch was nullified due to an offensive penalty.

— Inc/Pen means a pass was incomplete (or intercepted) but there was a penalty on the play (often defensive pass interference).

For those curious, Danny Vanden Boom had one target to Taj Mustapha.

ALEX HORNIBROOK TARGETS

PLAYER TARGETED CATCHES DROPS INT LOST/PEN INC/PEN
Benzschawel 1
Cruickshank 2 1
Davis 43 26 2 1 1 3
Deal 2 2
Dunn 2 1
Ferguson 41 27 2 2 2 1
Groshek 18 14 1
Ingold 3 3
Krumholz 1 1
Neuville 1 1
Penniston 5 2 1
Pryor 28 14 1
Taylor, A.J. 50 23 6 4
Taylor, J. 13 7 2 1
Thrown away 2
Unknown 1 1
TOTALS 213 122 12 11 4 4

JACK COAN TARGETS

PLAYER TARGETED CATCHES DROPS INT LOST/PEN INC/PEN
Cruickshank 2
Davis 20 14
Ferguson 16 7 1
Groshek 10 9
Ingold 4 2 1
Krumholz 1
Penniston 2 1
Pryor 10 8
Taylor, A.J. 11 7 1
Taylor, J. 2 1 1
Thrown away 3
Unknown 1 1
TOTALS 82 50 1 2 0 1

Wisconsin had 21 holding penalties this season, which was its highest infraction. There were 14 false starts, 11 personal fouls, 10 pass interferences and nine offsides.

In the chart below, note that D means declined. Also, the unit (offense, defense, special teams) on the field during the time the penalty occurred is noted.

PLAYER GAME PENALTY YARDS TEAM
Baun Nebraska offsides 5 def
Baun Penn State personal foul 15 def
Benzschawel, B. Penn State false start 5 off
Benzschawel, B. Penn State false start 5 off
Benzschawel, B. Purdue false start 5 off
Biadasz W. Kentucky false start 5 off
Biadasz Minnesota holding 10 off
Biadasz Nebraska holding 10 off
Biadasz Penn State illegal snap 5 off
Bruss Purdue false start 5 off
Burton Nebraska holding 10 def
Burton W. Kentucky pass interference 15 def
Chenal Northwestern holding 9 st
Cone Purdue unsportsmanlike conduct 10 def
Connelly Rutgers offsides 0 def
Connelly Illinois personal foul 15 def
Connelly Michigan personal foul 15 st
Connelly Nebraska personal foul 15 def
Davis Michigan false start 5 off
Deiter Illinois false start 5 off
Deiter Purdue false start 5 off
Deiter BYU holding 10 off
Deiter Illinois holding 10 off
Deiter Illinois holding 10 off
Deiter Purdue holding 10 off
Dietzen Purdue false start 5 off
Dietzen Rutgers false start 5 off
Dietzen Northwestern personal foul 15 off
Edwards, D. Penn State false start 5 off
Edwards, D. BYU holding 10 off
Edwards, D. New Mexico holding 10 off
Edwards, D. W. Kentucky offsides 5 off
Griffin W. Kentucky offsides 5 st
Groshek Rutgers holding D off
Hicks Northwestern offsides D def
Hicks BYU pass interference 3 def
Hicks Northwestern pass interference 5 def
Hicks Purdue pass interference 15 def
Hornibrook Minnesota illegal forward pass 5 off
Hornibrook BYU intentional grounding 0 off
Lloyd W. Kentucky personal foul 15 off
Lyles BYU offsides 5 def
Lyles Nebraska personal foul offset def
Maskalunas New Mexico holding 10 st
Maskalunas Purdue holding 10 st
Mustapha New Mexico holding 10 st
Nelson Penn State pass interference offset def
Nelson Nebraska personal foul offset def
Orr Minnesota offsides 5 st
Orr W. Kentucky personal foul 15 def
Penniston BYU false start 5 off
Penniston Purdue false start 5 off
Penniston Nebraska holding 10 off
Pryor Rutgers false start 5 off
Sanborn Minnesota holding 10 st
Sanborn Northwestern ruoghing the kicker 15 st
Stokke Northwestern illegal block 10 st
Taylor, AJ Minnesota holding 10 off
Taylor, J. Illinois personal foul offset off
Team W. Kentucky delay of game 5 off
Unknown Northwestern offsides D st
Unknown W. Kentucky offsides 5 st
Unknown Illinois personal foul offset st
Van Ginkel Purdue facemask 15 def
Wildgoose Illinois holding 10 def
Wildgoose Michigan holding 10 def
Wildgoose New Mexico holding 10 def
Wildgoose Purdue holding 10 def
Wildgoose Minnesota pass interference 14 def
Wildgoose Penn State pass interference 15 def
Wildgoose Purdue pass interference 15 def
Wildgoose Rutgers pass interference 9 def
Williams Purdue pass interference 15 def

The Badgers had 19 punts within the opponent’s territory — i.e., plus-territory. This does not include punts from Wisconsin’s own 45 to the 50, which there were some as well. This is the first year I’ve tracked plus-territory punts, but 19 still feels like a lot.

PLUS-TERRITORY PUNTS

OPP Q YD LINE TO GO PUNT OPP ENSUING DRIVE UW NEXT DRIVE
WKU 1 41 12 33 3&out, punt to WKU47 TD
WKU 2 44 7 34 3&out, punt to 50 + 15 WKU penalty FG
BYU 2 46 6 26 52 FGA missed TD
Iowa 1 44 4 29 Drive stalled at UW5 TD
Iowa 2 46 2 35 FG n/a
Iowa 3 47 17 37 punt fumbled, UW recovered n/a
Iowa 4 44 3 32 3&out, punt to UW44 3&out
Iowa 4 49 3 34 drive to IA47, punt to UW7 TD
Neb 1 35 8 35 TB 3&out, punt to 50 FG
Neb 4 44 2 44 TB Game n/a
Mich 1 43 10 29 TD n/a
Mich 3 42 2 42 TB FG n/a
Ill 2 42 8 42 TB Interception 27 FGA missed
Ill 4 46 5 43 Drive to 19, punt to UW39 Game
NW 1 46 2 31 Interception TD
Rut 2 42 9 34 Drive to 28, punt to UW32 Interception
Rut 2 36 5 28 Drive to UW44, punt to UW1 Half
Pur 2 43 7 35 Drive to 49, punt to UW19 Punt
Min 2 44 8 39 3&out, punt to UW46 + 15 Min penalty Interception

Dave Heller is the author of Ken Williams: A Slugger in Ruth’s Shadow (a Larry Ritter Book Award nominee), Facing Ted Williams – Players From the Golden Age of Baseball Recall the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived and As Good As It Got: The 1944 St. Louis Browns