The competition for the University of Wisconsin’s No. 3 receiver position has heated up in the last few practices of the spring, and both Reggie Love and George Rushing put together solid performances Saturday.
Love was especially impressive during the Badgers’ non-tackling scrimmage, hauling in a team-high nine catches for 133 yards and three touchdowns.
The senior made a nice 17-yard grab on a fade route over Lubern Figaro for his first touchdown, made another impressive catch in the front corner of the end zone for a 20-yard score and burned safety Blake Mielke for another touchdown from 18 yards out.
While Rushing only caught two passes for 20 yards during the scrimmage portion or practice, he made a number of catches during 7-on-7 and team drills.
“I thought George on Thursday, some of the things that were repeatedly getting him in trouble, I thought he did a better job of,” UW coach Paul Chryst said. "I noticed a couple (Saturday) that he was carrying those positive steps forward. I’m anxious to look and see the rest of the tape.
"George, he’s one of the guys in that group that’s gone every day, and I think with George, a lot of it is just having that self-confidence that he can trust himself to let it go and get out of that comfort zone."
All three of Love’s touchdowns came off throws from fifth-year senior Bart Houston, who finished 10-of-13 passing for 141 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook completed 3-of-7 passes for 24 yards with one touchdown and also did not throw a pick. He also scored a 3-yard rushing touchdown via a naked bootleg on fourth-and-1.
The offense had perhaps its best performance of the spring and also saw success on the ground despite the tackling restrictions of the scrimmage.
Senior Corey Clement found running room on the first possession and finished with 42 yards and a touchdown on five carries. Redshirt sophomore Taiwan Deal also ripped off a 22-yard run against the first-team defense.
GAGLIANONE READY FOR BOUNCE-BACK YEAR
The Badgers took a break in the middle of their scrimmage for kicker Rafael Gaglianone to attempt a series of field goals.
After making 32- and 38-yard attempts, he lined up for a try from 52 before Chryst called a fake timeout to try to simulate an opposing team icing the kicker. Gaglianone proceeded to hit the 52-yard kick straight down the middle.
It was the continuation of a good spring for Gaglianone, who had an outstanding freshman season in 2014 when he made 19-of-22 field goal attempts before struggling at times last year. He’s even noticeably slimmed down since UW’s win in the Holiday Bowl.
“Fans might not recognize him,” Chryst said. “He’s done a great job. That’s where all the things off the field do carry over on the field. He’s lost 20, 25 pounds. What that means to kicking, I really don’t know. But I do know that he’s committed to finding areas where he can get better."
Bart Houston: 10-13, 141 yards, 3 TDs
Alex Hornibrook: 3-7, 24 yards, 1 TD
Corey Clement: 5 carries, 42 yards, 1 TD
Dare Ogunbowale: 5 carries, 22 yards
Taiwan Deal: 5 carries, 26 yards
Bradrick Shaw: 5 carries, 20 yards
George Rushing: 1 carry, 9 yards
Bart Houston: 3 carries, 9 yards, 1 TD
Leon Jacobs: 1 carry, 4 yards
Reggie Love: 9 catches, 133 yards, 3 TDs
George Rushing: 2 catches, 20 yards
Kyle Penniston: 1 catch, 15 yards, 1 TD
Corey Clement: 1 catch, minus-3 yards
Alec James: 1 TFL
Jack Cichy: 1 TFL
Ryan Connelly: 1 TFL
T.J. Watt: 2 PBUs
Sojourn Shelton: 1 PBU