Nov. 16, 2013
BY RYAN EVANS
UW Athletic Communications
MADISON, Wis. -- It may be a new season, but Saturday’s game turned out to be the same story between Wisconsin and Indiana, as the Badgers ran all over the Hoosiers en route to a 51-3 win at Camp Randall Stadium.
Wisconsin ran for a season-high 554 yards -- the second best rushing output in program history and the best by an FBS team this season -- and scored all six of its touchdowns on the ground. For the third time this season, three UW running backs -- James White (205), Melvin Gordon (146) and Corey Clement (108) -- eclipsed the century mark in rushing.
White’s 205-yard game marked a career-high effort for the senior and included a 93-yard touchdown run, the longest run in UW history, on Wisconsin’s first offensive play.
“It was a big play,” White said of his record run. “We wanted to start fast.”
Gordon added that Saturday’s rainy weather made for perfect running conditions.
“That is running back weather,” Gordon said. “We knew we were going to get the ball and put the team on our back and we definitely did that today."
But it wasn’t just the running backs getting in on the action.
He may not have had a catch, but WR Jared Abbrederis certainly made his presence felt against the Hoosiers, breaking free for touchdown runs of 32 and 49 yards -- the first two rushing TDs of his career.
“That’s something that we’ve practiced a lot,” QB Joel Stave said of using Abbrederis in the run game. “It’s well-rehearsed and to get an opportunity to actually use it in a game is pretty exciting. He showed he’s pretty good at that jet sweep.”
In all, the Badgers had seven rushes of 30-plus yards against Indiana, more than 73 FBS teams have on the year (entering Saturday).
For Wisconsin, the historic rushing performance was business as usual against Indiana. In their current nine-game win streak vs. the Hoosiers, the Badgers have averaged an astounding 346.0 yards on the ground.
The Badgers’ 676 yards of total offense was their second-highest output all-time, trailing only the 705 yards gained against Indiana on Oct. 16, 1999. Wisconsin has gone over the 600-yard mark 17 times in its history, and five of those performances have come against the Hoosiers.
Andersen said that Indiana’s eighth-ranked offense had him “petrified” coming into Saturday’s game, but Wisconsin’s defense quickly eased its coach’s fears by holding the Hoosiers offense to season lows in points, total yardage and passing yardage.
Indiana’s prolific aerial attack was averaging 327.4 yards per game through the air but was grounded by Wisconsin, which allowed only 122 yards passing. That total was 147 yards less than the Hoosiers’ previous low of 259 against Michigan State on Oct. 12.
The Hoosiers’ total of 224 yards of total offense was 127 yards below its previous season low of 351, which also came against the Spartans. Indiana was held without a touchdown for the first time since a 55-3 loss to MSU on Nov. 19, 2011.
Wisconsin has had plenty of practice defending spread offenses this season, and having that experience against similar teams under their belt helped the Badgers shut down the high-powered Hoosiers.
“I feel like the games that we’ve played before have prepared us for where we are now,” DE Ethan Hemer said. “Coaches and players alike have a better understanding of what it takes to play against high-power offenses. I think that showed on the field today.”
The Badgers were able to set the stage defensively by forcing back-to-back turnovers on Indiana’s first two offensive drives, which, combined with Wisconsin’s ability to turn them into points, took the wind out of the Hoosiers’ sails early.
“Indiana puts up points against good teams,” LB Conor O’Neill said. “For us to take the air right out of them coming out of the game, it was huge. To get those first two turnovers and get points on the board, it takes away momentum from them right away.”