Jet sweep a gift to Badgers

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Ge­naro C. Ar­mas

MADI­SON, WIS. >> The first key to ex­e­cut­ing a suc­cess­ful jet sweep at No. 6 Wis­con­sin can be sum­ma­rized in two words by re­ceivers coach Ted Gil­more. “Run scared,” Gil­more said Wed­nes­day.

Speed to beat de­fend­ers to the edge and vi­sion to find the right hole help, too. The eighth-ranked Penn State Nit­tany Lions (10-2, No. 7 CFP) will be watch­ing for the sweep when they face the Badgers (10-2, No. 6 CFP) on Satur­day night in In­di­anapo­lis in the Big Ten Cham­pi­onship game.

“The first thing that goes through my head is get up field and get what­ever you can,” Wis­con­sin re­ceiver Jazz Peavy said. “When you see a lot of green grass like that it’s just run, run, run.”

Just like last week in the 31-17 win over Min­nesota .

Peavy went 71 yards down the right side­line to the Go­phers 11.

Two plays later, tail­back Corey Cle­ment bar­reled into the end zone from 2 yards for the go-ahead touch­down with 6:42 left.

“It hap­pens so fast you can’t re­ally think about it,” Peavy said.

The jet sweep has been a tool at Wis­con­sin in the past, span­ning coach­ing staffs. But it was re­ally dusted off this year on Oct. 15 in the 30-23 loss in over­time to No. 2 Ohio State. Peavy, a ju­nior who has emerged as a key of­fen­sive weapon, gashed the Buck­eyes for 70 yards rush­ing on six car­ries.

Peavy has reached “a point where he be­longs and he can make those plays,” Gil­more said. “I tell him all the time to trust him­self.”

The re­ceiver has left such an im­pres­sion that the play has a new nick­name: the “Jazz sweep.”

What­ever it’s called, the Nit­tany Lions want to put a stop to it.

A de­fense re­in­forced by the mid­sea­son re­turns of lineback­ers Bran­don Bell and Ja­son Cabinda from in­juries has helped hold op­po­nents to less than 47 yards rush­ing in three of the last five games. But the Nit­tany Lions got gashed by sweeps, shovel passes and play-ac­tion in a 42-39 loss to Pitts­burgh in Septem­ber. Cabinda, the start­ing mid­dle line­backer, didn’t play in that game.

“It’s some­thing we kind of plan on hap­pen­ing,” cor­ner­back John Reid said Wed­nes­day when asked if Penn State would be brush­ing up on de­fend­ing the sweep.

The sweep is just one of a se­ries of tweaks that coach Paul Chryst — a for­mer Wis­con­sin of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor — has made since mid­sea­son, when the run­ning game be­came more pro­duc­tive.

With Wis­con­sin com­ing off a bye week, Ohio State didn’t look pre­pared for Peavy run­ning the sweep. The next week, Chryst started us­ing se­nior Bart Hous­ton again at quar­ter­back. The for­mer starter be­gan tak­ing a few se­ries each game, al­ter­nat­ing with Alex Horni­brook, the red­shirt fresh­man who took his job.

Hous­ton has em­braced his role, of­ten giv­ing the of­fense a spark. A for­mer op­tion quar­ter­back in high school, the right-handed se­nior has more mo­bil­ity and presents de­fenses a dif­fer­ent look from Horni­brook, a left-handed pocket passer.

With Horni­brook listed as ques­tion­able with a head in­jury, Hous­ton may get the call again to start against Penn State.

Af­ter ro­tat­ing of­fen­sive line­men for much of the first half of the sea­son, Wis­con­sin’s front five has more sta­bil­ity. Cle­ment re­mains Wis­con­sin’s go-to back and best break­away threat, though speedy fresh­man Bradrick Shaw has taken more car­ries later in the sea­son.

The Badgers lead the FBS in time of pos­ses­sion (35:12). The ball-con­trol of­fense sets the tempo, and keeps a big­play de­fense fresh.

“What you can’t al­low this type of of­fense to do is ball con­trol, eat up the clock, just grind you down with three- and four-yard plays down the field,” Penn State coach James Franklin said.

It’s all part of the coach­ing chess match that will play out on Satur­day.

The jet sweep isn’t nec­es­sar­ily an in­te­gral part of the play­book each week, but just the act of Peavy run­ning from his wide­out po­si­tion to­ward the quar­ter­back be­fore the snap could cause a dis­trac­tion to the de­fense — enough so that a hand­off up the mid­dle to Cle­ment in­flicts just as much dam­age.

“It re­ally opens up and spreads out the of­fense,” Cle­ment said. “Whether it’s a phony or it’s go­ing to be given to Jazz, it keeps de­fenses on their toes.”

ANDY MANIS — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Wis­con­sin wide re­ceiver Jazz Peavy runs against Min­nesota last Satur­day. The Badgers dusted off the jet sweep to rous­ing suc­cess against Ohio State, part of a se­ries of tweaks since mid­sea­son that has helped the run­ning game be­come more pro­duc­tive.

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