MadTown Badgers: Nine-Point Play(ers) for Week 2


MadTown Badgers: Nine-Point Play(ers) for Week 2

Somehow, I’m surprised that TTU’s nine-point players are almost all bigger and have been more productive than those dear auld chaps from UMass, despite the fact that UMass is a FBS team now and TTU still resides in the giant-slaying FCS division. It’s also tough to get a read on how good any of these brochachos are because they played the blind toddlers from St. Mary’s Preschool last week. It's safe to say that this team isn't THAT good, and since it's widely accepted that teams improve the most between Week 1 and Week 2, Wisconsin should be able to score consistently during this game, also known as "Joel Stave won't suck as bad as he did last week, given the level of his competition."

REFRESHER: Article Background/Basis

Remember from last week - it’s impossible to score nine points on one play in football. Some people are going to troll me and say that you can’t score seven or eight points on one play alone. The reality is that a touchdown directly leads to an extra point or two point conversion attempt, and there is no way for the offense to score three points on the post-touchdown conversion.

In baseball, people sometimes refer to hitters as “trying to hit a five-run homer” when they take huge swings that usually end up making little-to-no contact with the ball. Similarly, this segment is going to look at the nine players on the opposing team that will either try their hardest to, or be in the best position to score nine points on a single play and upend our beloved Badgers on the upcoming Saturday.

(1)   Ladarius Vanlier: Running Back, Sophomore. Height: 5-7 Weight: 165

Player Profile

Vanlier, #3, is the kid that you lose track of during a game of hide-and-go-seek. Instead of spending 20 minutes finding him, you give up after three or four minutes because he is probably holed up in one of those small gym lockers and you’re a lazy tub of lard that hasn’t been prescribed Adderall yet, so you find something else to do other than search through all four hundred lockers. He wins every game of hide-and-go-seek, kick the can, tag, and tetherball.

Ladarius had a punt return touchdown of 93(!) yards last week to go along with two carries for 51 yards and another score. Yeah, the Badgers’ defense will probably turn him into cottage cheese by the end of the game, but the fans in the stands will get a first-hand idea of how they would look on the football field compared to Beau Allen or Brendan Kelly. Vanlier actually accounted for twelve points himself last week, but he’s more likely to end up with nine hip pointers this week than nine points on one play.

(2)   Darian Stone: Quarterback, Junior. Height: 6-0 Weight: 185

Player Profile

Stone, #5, has more of a baby face than I do, and that’s saying something. He struck me as a Pat White-type QB when I initially looked at his peripherals. Sure enough, last week he threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more, and for his career he averages over 66 rushing yards/game. He’s only a little guy, and although he’s taller than ERMAHGERD RUSSELL WILSON, he doesn’t have the hunks of burning love that ya boy had in Madison two seasons ago. He has doughboys that weren’t good enough to play FBS football. That may explain why his completion percentage last year was worse than that of the clown that UMass sacrificed to Wisconsin last week (49% vs. 52.6%). I’ll give him six points for being responsible for a broke-ass touchdown, and three bonus points for being smart enough to slide/kneel/run out-of-bounds immediately when a Badger defender comes within three yards of him.

(3)   Zack Ziegler: Wide Receiver, Redshirt Senior. Height: 6-0 Weight: 200

Player Profile

Ziegler, #16, was forced to take a redshirt last year after he injured more than his pride while getting dumped on by Oregon early in the season. For some reason, I equate this man with Dirk Diggler - probably because of the alliteration in his name. Ziegler is the starter at the "A" running-back position, a spot that is also effective in the Golden Eagle passing game as a receiver. Last Saturday, Ziegler recorded two carries for nine yards from his slot receiver position, and failed to record a catch in the game. Two seasons ago, Zach won Tech's Unsung Hero Award as he ranked second on the team in receiving with 37 catches for 375 yards and three touchdowns while adding 33 carries for 110 yards and another touchdown. The only thing that Zack will get close to earning nine points for is his Fabio-esque head of hair, which could garner him a 9/10 on the all-flow rankings.

(4)   Marty Jones: Free Safety, Redshirt Junior. Height: 6-1 Weight: 190

Player Profile

Jones, #11, has the starting free safety position on lock, although according to the Tennessee Tech website he has “missed pretty much all of the past two years due to injuries. He was on the field for one play in 2011, and last year got off to a tremendous start before an injury early in the second game ended his season…again.”

This isn’t the dude from Back to the Future, although that was my first thought upon seeing the Tech free safety’s name on the screen. MARTY MCFLY WAS UNBREAKABLE AND TOO CRAFTY TO GET (seriously) HURT and I think that Michael J. Fox in his current state is more solidly built than this bundle of twigs. I think the over/under on total points being scored in the game before Jones spontaneously combusts should be set at nine points.

(5)   Cody Forbes: Running Back, Redshirt Junior. Height: 5-11 Weight: 205

Player Profile

Forbes, #4, missed last season due to a shoulder injury, so he can’t be blamed for the dumpster fire that occurred in Cookeville last season. His first two years were spent mostly on special teams returning kicks for ZERO yards and one catch for ten yards in his career. Forbes averaged nine yards per rush last week, but this week he will be lucky to touch the ball nine times before he gets JACKED UP, either on a carry or on a return – but he is a decent bet for “that TTU player most likely to do something worthwhile for his team” because he will be on the field a lot. His best chance to score nine points this Saturday will come on the basketball courts at the SERF after the game, and I’m not even sure he’s ever played basketball.

(6)   Cody Matthews: Wide Receiver, Junior. Height: 6-2 Weight: 190

Player Profile

Matthews, #9, is the Golden Eagles’ best receiving option, as he had 28 catches for 477 yards and four touchdowns last season to earn the title of returning player that sucks the least at his position. Last week, the preseason All-OVC (sounds like a shopping network) selection had three grabs for 47 yards and a score. Additionally, by all accounts Matthews is a pretty smart dude – he’s made the honor roll for all six semesters of college, so I’m sure he’s gotten plenty of free passes to Chuck-E-Cheese’s and lots of Dilly Bar tokens as well. The best Matthews can hope for regarding being a nine point player is that Sojourn Shelton gives him nine pointers on how to develop MAD SWAG DOE during the course of the game.

(7)   Chad Zinchini: Punter, Senior. Height: 6-3 Weight: 220

Player Profile

Zinchini, #92 in your playbooks but #1 in TTU fans’ hearts, is a FCS All-American punter. I gotta give the guy his due, though, because he spent three semesters at a Junior College AND DID NOT PLAY FOOTBALL before showing up at TTU tryouts uninvited and launching footballs into the sky with force and distance that you normally see coming from bottle rockets. For the love of all that is holy, I’m writing about a punter being one of the nine best/most important players for the opposition. Not only that, but this article is supposed to be about players that can SCORE points. Zinchini may be able to prevent Wisconsin from scoring nine more points than it could this Saturday by punting well, because the LAWD knows that he will probably punt about nine times.

(8)   Austin Tallant: Junior, Strong Safety. Height: 6-2 Weight: 190

Player Profile

Tallant, #14, is the Golden Eagles’ other starter at safety. I’m previewing both safeties here because they’re going to be BUSY on Saturday and have the best chance of anyone on the TTU defense of preventing Wisconsin from scoring nine(ty) points. It helps that Tallant is a three-year starter and has proven to be a good player, with 186 career tackles and postseason honors as a freshman. Tallant had the second-most tackles on the team last year, with 94, which means that the TTU front seven was brutally and mercilessly beaten to a pulp too often, even against other FCS teams. As I said before, his best chance to be a nine-point player doesn’t come from being able to score nine points on a single play but rather being able to prevent Wisconsin from being the first team ever to figure out how to score nine points on a single play.

(9)   Lester Watson Brown: Head Coach, Seventh Year. 2012 Record: 3-8 (1-7). Overall at Tennessee Tech: 29-39

Coach Profile

Every time I look at his name, I think of Lester’s Possum Park from one of the all-time best Disney movies, “A Goofy Movie.”

Brown, 63, was the quarterback at Vanderbilt from 1969-72 and is also the older brother of Texas coach Mack Brown. His track record as a head coach is mostly garbage (career 122-190-1), but recently it’s been leaning toward just being bad enough to complain about (62-74 at UAB, 29-39 at TTU). Two years ago his team was actually worth half a damn, when it went 7-4 (6-2) and lost in the first round of the 1-AA playoffs. Brown’s team did score nine touchdowns last week against something called Cumberland University, an  NAIA school whose nickname ought to be the Cucumbers, because that’d be really kewl. This week, however, the Golden Eagles will be hard-pressed to score more than nine points total, which is what I project them to do.

Paul’s Pompous Prediction: Wisconsin 48, Tennessee Tech 7