Timeout usage leaves Badgers short on time in 2nd half

first_imgPASADENA, Calif. – Once again, the Wisconsin Badgers took a game of great magnitude down to the very last second.This time, however, time passed by a little too quickly for an offense forced to overcome a seven-point deficit more than halfway through the fourth quarter. Consequently, the No. 5 Oregon Ducks (12-2, 8-1 Pac-12) were able to outlast the No. 10 Badgers (11-3, 6-2 Big Ten) in the 98th Rose Bowl Game Monday afternoon.After two exceedingly confusing plays early in the second half, the Badgers were left with just one timeout for the final 25:50 of the game. The result was a final drive that had Wisconsin scrambling to cover 87 yards with just 16 seconds remaining. Though two long passes from quarterback Russell Wilson brought the Badgers 62 yards downfield, the clock expired before a third play – and a pass into the end zone – could be attempted.After running back Montee Ball rushed for 13 yards on a 3rd-and-1 from Oregon’s 27-yard line early in the third quarter, head coach Bret Bielema sprinted over to the referee on his sideline to call a timeout as the Badgers were lining up for the next play. 12:18 remained in the quarter, and with Wisconsin already trailing 35-28 against an Oregon team that had gained 341 yards on just 29 first-half plays, the early loss of a timeout was puzzling.Ball did hurdle a defender at the end of his run and appeared to catch a helmet to the groin, though he showed barely any sign of injury after being tackled by a crowd of Oregon players. After the game, Bielema said the Badgers lined up in a “busted formation” on the play and he wanted to make sure they were not flagged for a 5-yard penalty.“It was basically, for lack of a better term, the wide receiver was on the side opposite of what we had lined up,” Bielema said.On the field, however, the situation wasn’t as clear for Wisconsin’s players.“I’m not exactly sure,” left guard Travis Frederick said. “I was in there, they called a timeout. I just do what they tell me to do.”After the timeout, Ball rushed for another two yards to the Ducks’ 12-yard line. After a rush for no gain and an incomplete pass, Wisconsin was forced to kick a 29-yard field goal, bringing the score to 35-31 in favor of Oregon.On the ensuing kickoff, Oregon returner De’Anthony Thomas caught the football and took a knee in the endzone. Referees called the play a touchback and advanced the ball to the Ducks’ 20-yard line, though the Badgers’ sideline insisted the play should be ruled down at the one-yard line because it appeared Thomas stepped out of the endzone before taking the knee.Bielema wanted the play to be reviewed, though after huddling with officials, none was given. The referees also declined to announce any sort of explanation, instead whistling ahead the start of the play.“I saw the return man put his foot on the line and it looked like the ball was out over the line,” Bielema said. “I was trying to ask the official on my sideline if I could challenge him not getting across the line and he looked at me like I had three heads. They couldn’t get the answer, so they called a timeout and then they actually came back to me and said because they couldn’t give me the information in an adequate amount of time, they weren’t going to use that as a I challenge, they were going to use it as a timeout.”Wisconsin’s defense ultimately held Oregon to a three-and-out, and the Badgers scored a touchdown on an 18-yard pass from Wilson to wide receiver Nick Toon after a 9-play, 62-yard drive. The play put the Badgers ahead 38-35, and that score held through the end of the third quarter.However, Wisconsin entered the fourth quarter with just one timeout. Oregon’s defense, which had surrendered 399 yards in the first three quarters, stiffened to allow Wisconsin just 109 in the final quarter. The Ducks were able to muster 10 points of their own, taking a 45-38 lead an 11-yard pass from quarterback Darron Thomas to wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei at the 14:35 mark.Following a three-and-out by the Badgers’ offense, the Ducks were able to grind the clock away with a 12-play, 76-yard drive that consumed 5:54. Kicker Alejandro Maldonado’s 30-yard field goal left Wisconsin 6:50 to score seven points, but again, with just one timeout.“When you’re presented with an opportunity and you’re right there, you’re so close, for the second year in a row to be at The Granddaddy of Them All and to lose, it’s heartbreaking, man,” safety Aaron Henry said. “A lot of people may say it’s just a game, it’s just a game, it’s just a game; but when you put all you have into the game, it hurts. When you invest time in something, whether it’s a relationship or a family member, … and you lose it, it’s painful.”last_img read more

ESPN’s ‘BoogerMobile’ won’t return to ‘Monday Night Football,’ sources say

first_imgPut a fork in ESPN’s “BoogerMobile” on “Monday Night Football.” It’s done.The wheeled sideline contraption carrying analyst Anthony “Booger” McFarland will not return for “Monday Night’s” historic 50th season, sources tell Sporting News.  ESPN initially tried to solve the problem by having a TV monitor on the back of the device, but that didn’t work, either. Finally, the network tried see-through plexiglass to give fans a somewhat better view around McFarland.By the end of the 2018 season, even ESPN producers seemed tired of the device. McFarland was in the broadcast booth for the last four games he called with Witten, Tessitore and Salters, including ESPN’s telecast of the Colts’ 21-7 wild-card win over the Texans on Jan. 5.The question now is whether ESPN will just go with a two-person booth of McFarland and Tessitore, with Salters as sideline reporter, or try the trickier three-person approach instead. Possible candidates to succeed Witten include ESPN insiders such as Louis Riddick, Matt Hasselbeck and Rex Ryan, and outsiders Peyton Manning, Kurt Warner of NFL Network and Greg Olsen of the Panthers, who has contributed on-air to both ESPN and Fox. McFarland himself could still be part of the “Monday Night” announce crew with play-by-play announcer Joe Tessitore and sideline reporter Lisa Salters, sources said. But his on-field crane will join the late, unlamented Mobile ESPN phone on the network’s list of technology flops.MORE: Assessing “Monday Night Football’s” midlife crisisThe “BoogerMobile’s” vanishing act would follow the recent departure of “Monday Night” lead analyst Jason Witten back to the Cowboys. The former tight end surprised his former employer by suddenly announcing he was retiring to America’s Team after only one season on the air. ESPN declined to comment on the “BoogerMobile” or the “Monday Night” announce crew on Thursday.Look, give ESPN credit for trying something new. McFarland’s sideline high chair was supposed to give the Super Bowl-winning defensive tackle a closer, more revealing view of the war in the trenches than the faraway broadcast booth. When ESPN announced the new “Monday Night” team, it touted McFarland as the “first field-level analyst for sports television’s signature series.”But the sideline crane ended up being more trouble than it was worth. Witten, McFarland and Tessitore were all “Monday Night” rookies. By having Witten and McFarland in separate parts of NFL stadiums, it became tougher for the new crew to develop on-air chemistry. Witten and McFarland hesitated to talk first, leading to too much dead air. Other times, they talked over each other.”What makes a three-man booth challenging is everybody’s gotta give up a little something. Right?” McFarland told The Athletic in December. “Because normally you’d have one guy being the analyst and he’s got the ability to go at his own pace and do everything and break down everything, but when you’ve got two people somebody’s gotta give up a little something.”Many fans inside NFL stadiums despised the “BoogerMobile.” The device blocked the view of football fans paying big money for lower-bowl, sideline seats. These frustrated fans hurled invective at McFarland while he analyzed the game and posted videos of their obstructed field views to Twitter.MORE: Five steps to fix ‘Monday Night Football’last_img read more