Nov. 9, 2013
BY RYAN EVANS
UW Athletic Communications
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin senior RB James White may not always get the full credit he deserves in the Badgers backfield, but his steady presence Saturday was the difference as UW toppled visiting BYU, 27-17
White was a one-man wrecking crew on offense for the Badgers, accounting for all three Wisconsin touchdowns -- running for two and catching another -- to go along with 194 yards of total offense (147 rushing, 47 receiving). It was White’s fifth career game with at least three TDs.
With his performance, White upped his career touchdown total to 46, which leads all active FBS players and now ranks him third all-time at Wisconsin. His 43 career rushing scores are now good for fourth all-time at UW.
“I’m just trying to be as versatile as possible out there,” White said. “Be sharp on pass protection, be a viable option in the receiving game and don’t miss any cuts as a running back. I’m trying to play as complete as possible.”
UW head coach Gary Andersen said that White is the most complete back he has ever been around.
“(James’) ability to be our downhill runner, have some speed on the outside, and catch the football is a very unique package,” he said, “and he can do all that stuff very well.”
White’s 147-yard rushing performance was the 15th 100-yard game of his career and helped him move past John Clay and Terrell Fletcher into seventh all-time in the Wisconsin career rushing rankings with 3,522 career yards.
The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native continues to be a good luck charm for the Badgers, as UW is now 15-0 in White’s career when he hits the century mark in rushing yards.
“I’m going to go out there and leave it all out there for my team,” White said. “If it happens to be 100 yards or if it doesn’t, I don’t know, but it seems to be pretty successful when I do that.”
Andersen stressed the importance of containing BYU’s explosive, high-tempo offense and the Badgers did just that, limiting an unit that came in averaging 511.1 yards per game to just 370 total yards, its second-lowest total of the season.
The Badgers also limited BYU’s 14th-ranked rushing attack to just 163 yards on the ground, good for the Cougars’ second-worst output of the season. Wisconsin bottled up BYU dual threat QB Taysom Hill, limiting him to just 260 yards of total, well below his season average of 357.5, which ranked sixth in the nation.
The defense was unquestionably bolstered by the return of its leader, senior LB Chris Borland, who had his 16th career double-digit tackle game with 13 stops, including two sacks -- tying a career-high -- and 2.5 tackles for loss.
“It was great to be back,” Borland said. “It felt like I hadn’t played in forever.”
“I think Coach (Dave) Aranda and the staff did an awesome job,” he said of the defensive game plan. “We really controlled the game for the majority of it. We contained them and the quarterback, which was huge.
But it wasn’t just Borland making plays, as the entire defense stepped up to slow down the Cougars.
That included S Michael Caputo, who made a career-high 12 tackles, and quarterback-turned-safety Tanner McEvoy, who had his best all-around performance since switching positions, tallying a career-high five tackles, including one for a loss -- to go along with a pass break up and his first career interception.
“It was nice to pick one off,” McEvoy said. “It was fun to get the ball back in my hands and make a play.”
“All around, we had a pretty great day on defense,” he added. “Today was a great day for all of us. I had a great day, so I was just happy with the way things turned out.”
The Badgers returned home for the first time in 28 days Saturday and continued their historic success at Camp Randall Stadium.
With the win against BYU, Wisconsin improved to 60-6 at home since the start of the 2004 season, the third-best record in the country in that time, including 29 consecutive home wins against non-conference opponents. That streak is the second longest in the FBS.
UW is now 5-0 at home this season and, in those five games, has outscored its opponents by a combined score of 196-33. In those games, the Badgers’ defense has given up just three touchdowns and is surrendering an average of only 6.6 points per game.