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Wisconsin Must Slow Down Colorado's Brown In Alamo

Dec 26, 2002

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Colorado tailback Chris Brown was out with an injury when the Buffaloes lost the Big 12 championship game and dropped a few spots on the bowl-selection depth chart.

Brown says he's better now, which won't be good news for Wisconsin when it plays the 14th-ranked Buffaloes (9-4) in the Alamo Bowl on Saturday night.

"I'm going to get out there and run the ball, get us in sync and back on rhythm, which shouldn't be hard at all," Brown said.

The Badgers (7-6) know their defense will be hard-pressed to contain Brown, a second-team All-America selection led the conference in yards rushing and scoring but missed the Big 12 title game against Oklahoma with a bruised sternum.

"He's a big, physical back," Wisconsin defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove said. "He breaks a lot of tackles, he has tremendous balance and vision. He's as good as any back we've seen."

The teams bring a similar approach to the game, with both focusing their offenses around running the ball and their defenses on controlling the opponent's ground game.

"I don't know that we'll do anything that they haven't seen," said Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez. "They see what we're going to do about every day in practice."

Brown (1,744 yards, 18 touchdowns) and fellow junior Bobby Purify (739 yards) were the nation's top rushing duo, thanks in part to the blocking of senior fullback Brandon Drumm.

"The most important person we have on offense is Brandon Drumm," offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said.

Senior Quarterback Robert Hodge passed for more than 1,500 yards and 12 touchdowns for Colorado, which won the Big 12's North division with a 7-1 record.

"We have to get long drives and wear out the defense," Hodge said. "We have good backs, and we know they can carry the team."

Alvarez says he's a little worried about how his youthful defense (five starters are freshmen or sophomores) will match up against the Buffaloes' potent backfield and its experienced offensive line.

"They've been able to be physical with everyone and run the football against everyone. When you do that, you dictate the game, you dictate the tempo," he said. "I just don't know whether we can stand up physically against them."

Wisconsin's ground game centers around sophomore Anthony Davis, who ran for 1,456 yards and 12 touchdowns. Freshman Dwayne Smith added 537 yards rushing and six touchdowns.

The Badgers, who started the season with five non-league wins before going 2-6 in the Big Ten, are young on offense, with seven starters sophomores or freshmen.

Senior quarterback Brooks Bollinger passed for 1,595 yards and 12 touchdowns, and he rushed for nearly 400 yards. Seven of his TD passes were to Jonathan Orr, who had 842 yards receiving as a freshman.

Bollinger says control of the line of scrimmage will be crucial, as will be the ability to make big plays.

"I don't necessarily mean 80-yard touchdowns or something like that. You've got to be able to make plays on third down," he said. "I don't think either of these two teams is going to be too much trick 'em. It's pretty much straight-ahead football."

The status of Drew Wahlroos, Colorado's senior linebacker, was not clear after he and an injured defensive lineman Will Down were arrested early Tuesday for public intoxication in San Antonio's downtown tourist zone.

Wahlroos resumed practicing with the Buffaloes, but Down was sent home.