Posted by Chip Patterson
It took dependable play on both sides of the ball for Wisconsin to escape with a 20-19 victory over Arizona State on Saturday in Madison. The Badgers found themselves pinned against the ropes thanks to some big special teams plays from the Sun Devils. Thankfully for the Badgers, quarterback Scott Tolzien could depend on senior tight end Lance Kendricks.
Kendricks finished the game with seven catches for 131 yards, accounting for more than half of Wisconsin's passing. His touchdown catch with ten seconds left in the second quarter helped finish a 12 play, 71 yard drive to put the Badgers back in the lead just before halftime. His performance won the praise of coaches and teammates alike, and now has been named the John Mackey Tight End of the Week.
The honor is different from the John Mackey Award, given annually at season-end to the most outstanding tight end in Division I-A football. The weekly award was started in 2004 to honor the play of tight ends during the active season. Kendricks beat out Charlie Gantt of Michigan State and Michael Egnew of Missouri in Week 3. Previous Tight End of the Week honorees have been Kyle Rudolph of Notre Dame and Virgil Green of Nevada.
Having a reliable receiving option like Kendricks is crucial to identify heading into conference play. The Badgers are currently one of six ranked teams from the Big Ten, and the gauntlet will begin October 2 against Michigan State in East Lansing. The 6-4, 241 pound Kendricks is leading the team in receptions and yards on the season, and has caught both of Tolzien's touchdown passes. So much of Wisconsin's offense focuses on star running back John Clay, Kendricks has been able to slip past defenses and provide Tolzien a great option out of the play action.
Wisconsin will take on Austin Peay at home on Saturday, it will be their last non-conference game of the regular season.
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