Nov. 16, 2013
BY MIKE LUCAS
After turning off the microphone from his work with the Badger Sports Network, UWBadgers.com Insider Mike Lucas offers his take on the Badgers' 51-3 win over Indiana.
PLAY OF THE GAME
The school record for the longest run from scrimmage had been in the books for 50 years.
James White erased it on Wisconsin's first offensive snap against Indiana.
In the 1963 season opener, Tom Brigham, a fourth-string fullback from Two Rivers, dashed 91-yards for a touchdown with 23 seconds remaining in a 41-0 rout of Western Michigan.
In 2008, UW wide receiver David Gilreath almost broke Brigham's record when he raced 90-yards for a touchdown on an end-around against Indiana.
The Hoosiers were victimized against Saturday.
White's lead blocker was left guard Ryan Groy, who pulled and got just enough of Indiana's defensive tackle to spring White into the second level.
A decoy to Melvin Gordon on the fly sweep voided the middle of the defense and White found himself in a foot race with safety Mark Murphy. It was no contest.
Running almost stride for stride with White was UW wide receiver Alex Erickson, who served as a wingman and shielded Murphy from making a play.
White's 93-yard run was a stunner. Few games have opened with such a bang, save for Gilreath's kickoff return for a touchdown against Ohio State.
The only comparable first series run from scrimmage was Billy Marek's 81-yard scoring dash against Missouri in 1974. The Badgers won that game, 59-20.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
BYU refused to allow the Badgers to use the jet sweep. The Cougars attacked the perimeter of the defense with their safeties and D-ends. By so doing, they left other areas vulnerable.
Throughout the season, UW offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig has tweaked the play, knowing more and more defensive coordinators have spent sleepless nights designing a plan to stop Gordon.
Some of the tweaks have been more subtle than others. Most recently, the Badgers have run the jet sweep with White and Cory Clement, though they have not necessarily taken the handoff.
Ludwig has been teasing with WR Jared Abbrederis as a runner for a number of weeks and he finally unleased him against the unsuspecting Hoosiers - adding one more weapon to the arsenal.
Abbrederis is terrific in the open field - a by-product of his high school days when he was an option quarterback. The Hoosiers had no answer for the misdirection that Ludwig cooked up for them.
White's downfield block expanded his resume, which now also includes a 200-plus rushing game. White moved into fifth place on the UW's all-time list. In the process, he jumped over Marek.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Besides having scored at least 28 points in 10 consecutive games, the Hoosiers had scored in 23 straight quarters prior to running into an inspired Wisconsin defense.
In a game of cat-and-mouse, the Badgers clearly had the upper hand.
Whenever the Indiana quarterbacks Nate Sudfeld or Tre Roberson looked to the sideline for a call, Wisconsin checked out of its defense; a double-check discount, if you will.
When the QB's took the snap, they were expecting one coverage and got a different one. That seemed to throw off their timing; not that they ever got anything really going in the first half.
Sojourn Shelton's interception on Indiana's first possession was a tone-setter. Brendan Kelly's fumble recovery was also a tone-setter on the second series and put the Hoosiers in a huge hole.
UW defensive coordinator Dave Aranda continues to do a masterful job with the chess pieces. It was especially noteworthy to shut down Indiana since no one else had done it all season.
The domination continues. But there's no dwelling on the Hoosiers, and no sleeping on the Gophers, the biggest surprise in the Big Ten this season. All of a sudden, there's renewed interest in the Border Battle between 8-2 teams. This has the makings of a throwback game in the ancient rivalry.