Five former Badgers competing for Lombardi Trophy

first_imgAlthough just two teams remain this NFL season, there are still a number of faces that are familiar to those who watch the University of Wisconsin football team. In fact, five former Badgers will be either playing or coaching in Super Bowl XLVIII for the Seattle Seahawks or Denver Broncos. Between them, they have five Rose Bowl appearances, but each of them will try to hoist the Lombardi Trophy with their respective teams Sunday at MetLife Stadium.Russell WilsonTeam: Seattle Seahawks, Position: Quarterback, Experience: 2 yearsSince foregoing a career in major league baseball, transferring to UW from North Carolina State and leading the Badgers to the Rose Bowl in 2012 in his only season with the program, Russell Wilson has taken the NFL by storm.Measuring in at just 5-foot-11, many NFL scouts had doubts about Wilson’s ability to succeed at the professional level. The Seattle Seahawks, however, saw his athletic ability and composure as reason enough to draft him with the 75th overall pick in the third round of the 2012 draft to compete with former Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn.After beating out Flynn in the preseason, Wilson took a stranglehold on the Seahawks offense, putting together a rookie season that would earn him a third place in the voting for offensive rookie of the year behind only Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck.Now in his second season as the signal caller in Seattle, Wilson has played well enough to put him in the conversation of league MVP, throwing for 3,357 yards and 26 touchdowns and doing so without some of his best receiving threats because Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice were out of the lineup for most of the season.Montee BallTeam: Denver Broncos, Position: Running back, Experience: RookieAfter deciding to wait on the NFL and return to Madison for his senior season with Wisconsin, Montee Ball put up numbers that have never been seen in college football. Ball broke the NCAA record for most touchdowns in a career with 83 during his four years at Wisconsin while going to three straight Rose Bowls with the Badgers.The Denver Broncos selected Ball with the 58th-overall pick in the second round, but fumbling and pass protection issues kept the former Badger from seeing consistent time on the field during the first half of the season. In the latter half of his rookie campaign, Ball began to assume the role of a complementary back to starting tailback Knowshon Moreno, getting some third down and goal line opportunities.With his limited touches Ball was able to rack up 559 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 4.7 yards per rush.After going to three-straight Rose Bowls to end his career at Wisconsin, Ball goes to the Super Bowl in his first year in the NFL, admitting “a lot of players in the locker room tell me I’m spoiled” at the Super Bowl media day.O’Brien SchofieldTeam: Seattle Seahawks, Position: Linebacker, Experience: 4 yearsPlaying defensive end for Wisconsin from 2006 to 2009, O’Brien Schofield made his presence known on the defensive side of the ball, totaling 33 tackles for a loss and 17 sacks. During his senior season in 2009, Schofield ranked second in the nation in tackles for a loss with 24.5 to go with 12 sacks, which earned him a spot on the first All-Big Ten Team.The Arizona Cardinals drafted the South Carolina native in the fourth round with the 130th pick and converted him to outside linebacker. After playing three seasons in Arizona, Schofield was released by the Cardinals in 2013 and claimed off of waivers by the Seahawks.In Seattle, Schofield seldom sees the field in a talent-loaded defense that has been coined the “legion of boom.” In his time on the field this season the former Badger picked up seven tackles and a sack.Chris MaragosTeam: Seattle Seahawks, Position: Safety, Experience: 4 yearsChris Maragos has been an unheralded player since he left high school—walking on to Western Michigan and then transferring to Wisconsin, where he would switch sides of the ball and play safety. Although Maragos led the Badgers with four interceptions his senior season in 2009 and received honorable mention All-Big Ten, the Racine Native went undrafted in the 2010 NFL draft.Maragos was picked up by the San Francisco 49ers but was cut after just one year with the team which opened the door for the 5-foot-10 converted safety from Wisconsin to join Seattle in 2011.Time on the field isn’t easy to come by for Maragos, who plays behind Seattle’s 3-time all-pro free safety Earl Thomas, but in the playing time he has had Maragos grabbed 12 tackles, including one in the NFC championship game against the 49ers this post season.Darrell BevellTeam: Seattle Seahawks, Position: Offensive coordinator, Experience: 14 years as NFL assistant coachAs the starting quarterback for Wisconsin in 1993, Darrell Bevell led the Badgers to a 10-1-1 record and a spot in the 1994 Rose Bowl, where they beat UCLA 21-16 on a 21-yard run by Bevell, which put the game out of reach and secured Wisconsin’s first Rose Bowl win.As coach in the NFL, Bevell has made stops in Green Bay and Minnesota before landing in Seattle as head coach Pete Carroll’s offense coordinator in 2011. Now in his third season manning the Seahawks’ offense Bevell has the team ranked 8th in the NFL in points per game and 4th in rushing yards this season.last_img read more

National attention on Trojans as they travel to Seattle

first_imgTal Volk | Daily TrojanTime to lock it down · Junior corner back Adoree’ Jackson and the No. 20 Trojans are traveling to Seattle where they will face the No. 4 Huskies. Jackson and the defense are preparing for the highest scoring offense in the Pac-12.The Trojans have a five-game win streak on the line. The Huskies have a 12-game win streak, but one of these will end on Saturday when No. 4 Washington hosts No. 20 USC.Washington (9-0, 6-0) brings one of the most prolific offenses and stalwart defenses in the country into this game. Behind sophomore quarterback Jake Browning, the Huskies are averaging a conference-high 48.3 points per game. Their defense allows the fewest points per game at only 17.0.“It’s the most balanced team that we’ve played,” head coach Clay Helton said. “You look up and they have 231 yards rushing and 268 passing. They’re able to lean on the run game maybe when the quarterback is off.”The fewest points the Huskies have been held to this season is 31 in their win against Utah, but the Trojan defense is confident after holding both Cal and Oregon to season-lows in scoring. Luckily for USC, Helton said he expects redshirt senior defensive tackle Stevie Tu’ikolovatu to play and isn’t worried about whether or not he will be limited because Washington runs so few plays.“He’s a warrior,” Helton said. “He told me when we walked off the field that he was going to play in the game.” Another boost for the Trojan defense comes with Helton’s announcement that sophomore defensive back Iman Marshall will also be in the lineup.Not only is the Husky attack balanced, but it is also efficient. Washington converts on 46.9 percent of their third downs.“When you’re playing a ball-controlled offense and know you’re going to have limited possessions, Washington averages only 65 plays a game, third downs are going to be key,” Helton said. “We put a lot of concerted effort into that today.”Defensive efforts will be spread thin, as there is no one clear rush or pass threat, but Browning’s favorite target is wide receiver John Ross, who leads the Pac-12 with 14 touchdown receptions.“He does a lot of things well, especially when he gets the ball in his hands,” junior corner back Adoree’ Jackson said. “He’s one of those guys where he can stop on a dime. He can run nice routes. And that’s pretty much what is on film; you just see a good player out there.”Just behind Ross in touchdowns is wide receiver Dante Pettis, who has caught 11 this season.On both sides of the ball, the Trojans need to play well and avoid controllable mistakes. “You better play clean football because you aren’t going to get many possessions in the game,” Helton said. “If you’re not good on third downs, if you have penalties, if you turn it over, you’re going to set yourself back against an offense that averages 48 points off of 65 plays.”USC is 10th in the Pac-12 in penalties, averaging 71.6 yards per game because of them. Washington on the other hand, is first in the conference, with only 44.8 penalty yards per game.Converting on third downs is critical to keeping the chains moving and the Trojan defense off the field. USC is third in the conference, converting on 45.3 percent of their third downs. Washington has 27 sacks this season, tied for second in the Pac-12. Helton has expressed his concern over their pass-rush, especially on third down.Additional good news on the injury front for USC came with the full practice of senior running back Justin Davis and sophomore running back Aca’Cedric Ware. The pair of backs will join sophomore Ronald Jones II, who has been dominant in Davis’ absence. In their past three games, the Trojan running back corps has earned 320, 398 and 270 yards on the ground. During their five-game win streak, USC has averaged 571 yards of total offense, with coaches and players alike praising the performance of the offensive line.“If we’re just able to keep this going, we’re a force to be reckoned with,” redshirt senior offensive lineman Zach Banner said. “I love the pace that we’re going at right now.”The game kicks off at 4:30 from Husky Stadium in Seattle and is being televised by FOX. ESPN’s College Gameday will also be covering the game, broadcasting live from the University of Washington from 6 a.m.- 9 a.m.last_img read more

Two fifth graders publish first children’s book

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisTwo Ella White Elementary girls published their first children’s book. Heidi Bilitzke and Madison Shearer co-authored “The Bird Story.” Now these 11 year old’s are touring the school and reading their new book aloud to various classes throughout the school. Watch and find out why they decided to become Alpena’s latest storytellers.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisContinue ReadingPrevious Alpena’s polish communities ‘pig out’ days before LentNext Pastor Erickson: ‘I Thought it was a Mistake’ Winning 2017 Citizen of the Year Awardlast_img read more

Steven Universe Save the Light Conjures Good Memories of Licensed Games

first_img GEEK PICK: GEEKY VINYL SALEAlways Save The Day With This Steven Universe Gift Guide You don’t see many licensed games on consoles anymore. At least, there are very few that don’t begin with the words “LEGO” or “Telltale.” Nothing against those games, but you know more or less what you’re getting when you play one. Licensed games used to be everywhere on consoles, each one trying to put its own unique spin on whatever genre was popular at the time. Most weren’t what anyone would call “good.” Licensed games were often rushed, barely-playable cash-ins. Sometimes, you’d find a game that was a lot of fun despite a few flaws. I have fond memories of those PlayStation 2 Simpsons clones of Crazy Taxi and Grand Theft Auto. Occasionally, you’d find something actually cool, like Spider-Man 2, or more recently, South Park: The Stick of Truth. Steven Universe: Save The Light, which comes out this summer, looks like it’s going to fall in that category.Though the Cartoon Network-published Steven Universe: Save the Light, isn’t technically a licensed game, it deals in licensed properties. The game, coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, is an RPG that borrows a lot from Obsidian’s South Park, and from classic Nintendo and Square games as well. They’re not shy about it either. At a preview event on May 19, Grumpyface Studios founder and lead designer on Steven Universe: Save the Light, Chris Graham was very clear about where his inspirations came from. The combat feels like a mix of Super Mario RPG and Final Fantasy. Instead of being strictly turn based, you have a reserve of stars. Each action in battle costs a certain amount of stars, and you can replenish them by waiting for a Final Fantasy ATB-style bar to fill or by using consumable items from Steven’s Hamburger Backpack. When you attack or are attacked, a star will appear underneath the target. Press the button while the star is there, and you’ll either do extra damage when attacking or take less when guarding. The timing took some getting used to, as it felt a little loose, but I got the hang of it as my time with the game went on.Some of the most fun I had with the demo was exploring the game’s version of Beach City, which turns the cartoon’s setting into an open RPG town. My favorite thing to do in any game is walk around fictional cities, talking to everybody and seeing exactly how things are laid out. It’s why I enjoyed those Simpsons games so much. After years of watching the TV show, I had so much fun seeing where Springfield’s most recognizable locations were in relation to each other. I got the same kind of feeling playing Steven Universe: Save the Light. It felt even better this time, as series creator Rebecca Sugar’s heavy involvement in the game adds a layer of authenticity to Beach City’s map.It also helps that moving around in Steven Universe is fun. Steven has more mobility than most RPG characters. He can curl into a ball and do a fast roll across the ground (useful for finding secrets hidden in trees and mounds of dirt), and he can also jump high enough to walk on top of Beach City’s buildings. The developers hid secrets all over the place, usually items that help you in battle, so this kind of exploration is encouraged. As you’d expect from a game like this, there are plenty of familiar characters scattered throughout town that you can talk to. Most will offer side-quests, and others will just offer a bit of flavor dialog. Lars is standing outside Big Donut, acting like he’s too cool for Steven. Most of the side-missions I saw were your basic “this thing has gone missing, find it for me” fetch quest, but they’re usually callbacks to specific episodes of the show, which is fun for fans of the series.The first thing most fans will notice is that the game has a decidedly different look from the cartoon. That comes from Grumpyface’s first SU game for mobile, Steven Universe: Attack the Light. Graham said that during the development of that game, they based the characters off the distance models from the cartoon, meaning the less-detailed versions artists draw when the characters are supposed to be far away. The idea was that those models would be more appropriate for a small screen you hold away from your face. The result was a clean, cute look that was unique to the game while still being unmistakably Steven Universe. For the console sequel, they added a little more detail while keeping the simple, craft-paper look intact. And since the game’s on consoles now, they were able to up its scale significantly. The areas are much larger than in the mobile game, and you can explore a lot more freely.Even with the different look, it so far feels like you’re playing an episode of the Steven Universe cartoon. That’s largely thanks to Rebecca Sugar’s close involvement in its development. Graham said that unlike with Attack the Light, where Sugar signed off on the story, much of her writing made it into the game. Graham described a very collaborative partnership between himself and Sugar. Graham, who said he’s a fan of the show, would send scripts and quest ideas to Sugar, who would add her own changes and ideas, and the process would go back and fourth like that until they were happy with what they’d come up with. The result is a video game adaptation that feels like it understands what makes the show special. It has the wacky sense of humor with the underlying earnestness and heart that sets Steven Universe apart from most other cartoons. It may not be the full involvement that, for example, Trey Parker and Matt Stone had in the South Park game, but that’s probably why it will release on time.The one part of all this I’m not entirely sold on is the dialog options. It’s an RPG in 2017, so of course, they’re going to be there, but they didn’t feel all that meaningful, at least as far as the story was concerned. Now, I only got to play a small section of the game, so I can’t say fur sure, but their purpose seems more mechanical than story-focused. From what I saw, there’s a right answer and a wrong answer. Which is which depends on who you’re talking to. Choose the right one, and you get some extra relationship points with that character. It’s one of the ways the game rewards you for being familiar with the show. As a result, it feels less like you’re choosing what you want Steven to say (or think he would say), and more like you’re trying to guess the answer to a trivia question.Those relationship points do have a purpose though. In combat, if you build up your relationship between two characters, they can join to perform special moves. For example, Steven and Greg can play music together that protects the entire party. The coolest thing the devs showed me were the fusions. Yes, certain characters can fuse together in this game, just like they do in the show. Build up the relationship between some characters, and they’ll fuse together into a new character. The one the devs showed off to me was Steven and Connie’s fusion, Stevonnie. Stevonnie is a powerful character whose attacks made a serious dent in the health of a difficult boss. They also look really cool. Seeing them appear onscreen was definitely the high point of the demo. As a fan of the show, it put a huge smile on my face.There is a drawback, though. Stevonnie has their own attacks, and can’t use any of Connie’s or Steven’s. This forces you to choose your fusion moments carefully, making sure you don’t need Steven’s healing ability, for example. That very need forced me to un-fuse Stevonnie and cost me the boss battle. To be fair to me, that battle got surprisingly hard for an RPG presumably aimed at kids. The fight involved an evil woodchipper who unleashed a devastating group attack after its minions fed it three logs. When multiple minions carrying three logs each started to appear, I yelled out, “Oh, come on!” Graham told me they’re still tweaking the difficulty.The game will feature eight playable characters (seven to start, with another added in planned post-game DLC), and you can have up to four in a party. Even in the overworld, each character has a unique ability that will help you explore the environments and find secrets. For example, Connie’s sword can cut down bushes, and Greg’s guitar can solve Zelda-style music puzzles. For now, they would only talk about five of the playable characters: Steven, Connie, Greg, and the three “main” Crystal Gems, Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl. I asked if it was possible to un-fuse Garnet and play as Ruby and Sapphire. Graham hesitated for a moment and declined to answer. Hmmm. Sounds like it could be a possibility… I was a little disappointed to learn that Lars would not be a playable character. He’s become a bigger part of the show in the current season and has grown into one of my favorite characters. Mostly I want Lars to be playable because, like most of the fandom, I desperately want to see a Steven-Lars fusion. Oh, well. Maybe if the game gets a sequel.Steven Universe: Save the Light is the kind of game you don’t see so often anymore. It’s a licensed game for a console that, at least so far, feels like it has a lot of love behind it. Graham told me that Grumpyface has been able to choose the properties they work on, which means they’ve gotten to work on Cartoon Network and Adult Swim shows the developers actually like. In the little bit I played, that love of the source material is definitely present. There’s just enough fan service to make regular viewers of the series happy, but not so much that it will alienate more casual fans. If you’ve only seen a couple of episodes, and aren’t the type to obsess over it on Tumblr, there’s plenty here for you too. If the rest of the game is anything like what I played, it should be a fun, casual RPG that stays true to its source material. As burnt out as the world got on licensed games back in the day, I’m excited to run around a world I’ve only seen on TV. I haven’t done that on a console since the PS2 days.Steven Universe: Save the Light will be out this summer for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. (Sorry Nintendo fans, no Switch version is planned at this point.) Stay on targetlast_img read more