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Badgers opt for athleticism over experience in picking McEvoy

first_imgThe starting quarterback spot for the Wisconsin Badgers appears to be set — at least for one game.Redshirt junior Tanner McEvoy is starting over Joel Stave in the Badgers’ season opener against Louisiana State University on Aug. 30, according to an anonymously-sourced report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.It’s been two years since McEvoy has started a game at quarterback, which could provide for some rust as he is thrust into game action, but by choosing McEvoy, Badgers head coach Gary Andersen seems to be opting for a more athletic quarterback over experience.McEvoy transferred to Wisconsin after the 2012 season, moving to the defensive side of the ball after he didn’t get the starting quarterback spot. He impressed defensive coaches in his 10 games at safety in 2013 but moved back to quarterback for spring practices this season, trying to beat out Stave for the starting job.Stave has started 19 games for the University of Wisconsin over the course of his career and started all 13 last season. In 2013, Stave threw for 2,494 yards and 22 touchdowns with 13 interceptions.But Stave’s numbers on the ground were far from impressive, as he rushed 37 times for minus-22 yards. McEvoy’s running ability could allow the Badgers offense to get creative with Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement at running back, while using a new crop of athletic freshman wide receivers in unique ways.During his 2012 season at Arizona Western College, McEvoy threw for 1,943 yards with 25 touchdowns, adding 414 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.McEvoy’s dual-threat capabilities, which Stave lacks, may have won him the starting job. Andersen has expressed he wants a running quarterback that the team can use in multiple ways.In Andersen’s final season at Utah State, Chuckie Keeton was one of the best dual-threat players in the country and was at quarterback throughout the season for Andersen.Stave missed most of the spring practice as he recovered from a shoulder injury from the Badgers’ bowl game. It gave McEvoy the chance to run with the number one offense and gain some valuable practice time before summer camp.Despite missing the majority of spring practices, reports coming from summer practice showed that Stave seemed to have improved and was the leader in the quarterback competition. His footwork improved, and he has gotten better on shorter throws, or “lay ups” as Andersen calls them. Stave is certainly a more polished quarterback than McEvoy and more of a “pocket passer” with more experience.Even with McEvoy starting against LSU, Stave could still see time at quarterback throughout the season, even at the LSU game. Andersen has said this summer that he would be willing to use both quarterbacks in different packages.But for now, it looks as if McEvoy will be making the first start of his Badger career at quarterback on a pretty big stage, with the game against LSU just over a week away.last_img read more

Syracuse tops Clemson 84-75, to open conference slate

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ In the conference opener for both teams, No. 14 Syracuse (12-2, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) defeated Clemson (9-5, 0-1), 84-75, on Thursday night at Littlejohn Coliseum. After trailing by as many as 19 in the fourth quarter, Clemson cut SU’s lead to three points before the Orange pulled away late.Syracuse tied its season-high with 16 3-pointers and relied on the deep ball to close out the Tigers, who converted just one shot behind the arc. Five triples by Miranda Drummond helped her pace the Orange with a team-high 23 points, while a season-high seven 3s by Gabrielle Cooper fueled her to 22 points of her own.Cooper’s rapid 3s served as another signifier of her marked improvement from deep. As a freshman, the Lansing, Illinois native shot 28.4 percent from behind the arc. Last year, her rate jumped to 34.3. This season, Cooper’s leading the team with a blistering 42.7 percent mark.“I knew she had a chance to get better every year,” SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “Because she’s a kid that takes advantage of her opportunities, shoots the ball.”Cooper got the Orange going, nailing two 3-pointers off passes by Tiana Mangakahia in the first minute of the game. The Tigers’ offense soon got their feet underneath them though, reeling off 12 points in the ensuing two minutes to just two for SU.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAfter four misses in a row, Syracuse turned to Drummond for offense. First, the redshirt senior converted a four-point play from the left corner to tie the game at 12. On the next trip down the floor, Drummond hit another triple, this time to push the Orange ahead.The second half of the quarter saw both teams lose their touch from the floor. It took nearly four minutes before a field goal was made, by Clemson’s Simone Westbrook. Cooper responded with the last bucket of the period, a 3-pointer that gave Syracuse a 20-16 lead.“(Cooper) has to do a lot for us on the court,” Hillsman said. “Rebounding the ball, handling the ball. We just need her to continue to do what she does well – catch and shoot and take open shots.”The Orange implemented its full-court press and looked to score more in the paint in the second quarter. After failing to record a point in the area in the first, SU finally tallied two on a layup by Amaya Finklea-Guity 90 seconds into the second.Once Finklea-Guity broke the cold spell, Kiara Lewis began to attack the paint relentlessly. The Ohio State transfer went scoreless in the first quarter but kept the Orange offense afloat in the second, by scoring five straight points in just over a minute to push SU’s lead to eight.Both teams suffered another stretch in which they struggled from the field, as aside from one field goal each they simply traded free throws. The fouls allowed Clemson to slow Syracuse down and slightly chip away at its lead before Cooper caught fire from behind the arc again. Two consecutive 3-pointers gave SU a 41-29 lead with two minutes to go, and a Finklea-Guity layup with three seconds left pushed the advantage to 14 by halftime.“The way we shot the ball tonight,” Hillsman said, “they weren’t going to get any closer than they did. We just made open shots.”The Tigers opened the third quarter with two free throws but were promptly answered by Drummond’s fourth 3 of the game. Mangakahia responded to a Clemson layup with two triples, as she boosted the Syracuse lead to a game-high 19-points and prompted a Clemson timeout.Just as it looked like the Orange were poised to put the game away, however, the Tigers’ offense brought them back into the contest. Fueled by 11 free throws and improved ball security — they had just one turnover in the third period after losing 11 in the first half — Clemson finished the quarter on a 22-12 run, culminating in an and-1 layup by Westbrook that cut SU’s lead to seven. An off-balance floater by Isis Young beat the third quarter buzzer though, and the Orange went into the final period clinging to a 64-55 lead.“We just started fouling them,” Hillsman said as an explanation for the Tigers’ third-quarter run. “They shot 39 free throws tonight. That’s a ton. We need to do a better job of keeping them off the line.”Digna Strautmane’s jumper to begin the fourth gave Syracuse its double-digit advantage back, but it was brief. Scores by four different Tigers were offset only by Cooper’s sixth 3-pointer of the game as Clemson trimmed the SU lead to 69-62. The Tigers continued the pressure, cutting their deficit to five and then three, after another bucket by Westbrook.That was the closest Clemson would get the rest of the game, though, as Mangakahia answered on the other end with perhaps the biggest basket of the game. A 3-pointer of the dribble from the right wing gave Syracuse some breathing room and was followed by Cooper’s seventh 3-pointer of the night. The Tigers never again got within less than seven points and the Orange emerged with their first ACC win of the season.“In the ACC, toughest conference in the country, you gotta go on the road and win games,” Hillsman said. “We just made shots when they were needed to win the game.”Up next for Syracuse is another road ACC game, on Sunday against Virginia Tech. After winning 13 straight games to open their season, the Hokies dropped their ACC opener Thursday against Miami. Comments Published on January 3, 2019 at 10:14 pm Contact Eric: erblack@syr.edu | @esblack34last_img read more