Swan flies past Wazzu secondary

first_imgLast season, the Wisconsin passing attack stumbled out of the gates, struggling to find consistent success through its first four games before finally settling into its groove.There were no such problems Saturday, as the Wisconsin offense racked up 486 yards of total offense and scored 42 points in a season-opening victory over Washington State. Highlighting the offensive explosion was the pass-and-catch combination of seniors Tyler Donovan and Luke Swan.Swan kicked off his final season in fashion, establishing new career-high marks for receptions (8), receiving yards (170) and touchdowns (2).Along the way, the UW captain emerged as the go-to receiver for Donovan, the team’s new starting quarterback.In the opening drive of the game, Donovan completed his first pass of the season to Swan. Seven plays later, Donovan and Swan connected again for a 5-yard touchdown to cap a nine-play, 61-yard scoring drive. The offense gained 48 of those yards through the air.”They tried to set a statement, try to stop the run early and we wanted to take advantage of going over the top [of the defense],” Donovan said.Thanks to the game plan from offensive coordinator Paul Chryst and accurate passing from Donovan, Swan was able to set the Washington State secondary ablaze.”Tyler and I have a great comfort level,” Swan said. “We came in together, and he threw a lot of great balls and coach Chryst made some great calls.”Another factor contributing to Swan’s great day was the fact that Washington State started three new players in their defensive backfield — cornerbacks Chima Nwachukwu and Devin Giles, and strong safety Alfonso Jackson.”You want to attack that in some ways,” Donovan said of Wazzu’s inexperience. “There were some situations where we knew we were going to get some one-on-one [coverage] opportunities, and we tried to take advantage of it.”One such opportunity presented itself with less than one minute left in the first half. Already leading by a touchdown, Swan was able to beat single coverage deep, and Donovan hit him in stride in the end zone for a pretty 38-yard touchdown pass with 30 seconds to go.”We’ve got a lot of go-to receivers on this team … and Luke’s one of them,” Donovan said. “If you ever get a one-on-one with Luke, you try to take advantage of it.”That touchdown pass was just one example of Swan’s ability to find himself open, either behind or between defensive backs.”I think it was more what coach Chryst brought to the table,” said Swan, not taking full credit for his great day. “He saw the zones, had a great game plan, the other guys were working for me and I did the same for them and got some catches.”By day’s end, Swan’s season opener was one for the record books. With his 170-yard effort, he found himself on a short list of players who have had 170-yard receiving games, mentioned in the same breath as former UW greats Lee Evans, Al Toon, Chris Chambers and Pat Richter.”I really didn’t have any idea coming in what would happen at all,” Swan said. “As a freshman, I was just looking to play football, get on the field in some way. It’s been a fun ride and I’ve really enjoyed it.”While Swan was Donovan’s favorite target on the day, the quarterback found success seemingly everywhere he looked. Aside from a handful of throws he missed to open receivers, Donovan was sharp, surprising none of his teammates.”He showed he was a competitor in Iowa and against Buffalo,” Swan said. “He just came out and did exactly what he does every day in practice. I’m really happy with the way he played, the way he was competitive and really led the team.”last_img

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