Wisconsin steamrolls Indiana
MADISON—Pick your sport—football in the fall or men’s basketball when the snow flies—and it is clear that Indiana has become Wisconsin’s whipping boy.
The Hoosiers, in their third season under coach Kevin Wilson, came to Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday trying to end an eight-game losing streak against UW.
Considering UW had outscored the Hoosiers by a combined 100 points in Wilson’s first two seasons, ran the ball for almost 900 yards in those games and was a 24-point favorite Saturday, it was obvious Indiana would need help from the home team and/or a few breaks to end the streak.
Instead, Gary Andersen’s team deftly handled the cold and rainy conditions and eliminated any doubt and drama by rushing for 323 yards in the first half en route to a 51-3 victory in front of an announced crowd of 77,849.
With tailbacks James White, Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement combining for 462 rushing yards and four touchdowns, UW finished with 554 rushing yards, the No. 2 mark in program history, and six touchdowns. The No. 1 mark of 564 yards was set last season in a 62-14 victory at Indiana.
The Badgers had seven runs of 30 yards or more Saturday, and according to UW officials that total is more than 73 Football Bowl Subdivision teams had all season.
“Love it,” senior left guard Ryan Groy said of the game that resulted in 50 runs and 15 passes. “That’s what you play for. You’ve got to run the ball. It’s on us. Games like that we get a little more hungry and it’s off to the races.
“They know we’re going to run the ball. It’s either you stop it or we’re going to keep going.”
The Hoosiers (4-6, 2-4 Big Ten) forgot to pack a stop sign for the trip and UW (8-2, 5-1) rolled to its fifth consecutive victory.
“Wisconsin has quality backs,” said Wilson, now 9-25 as coach. “Really good line and again I think that their fullback, tight end play makes them really good, too.”
The Badgers finished with 676 total yards, the No. 2 mark in program history. The No. 1 mark of 705 was set in 1999 against…Indiana.
In the previous two meetings with the Hoosiers, UW rushed a combined 106 times for 896 yards and 11 touchdowns.
UW tried to match those numbers in the first half .
The Badgers rushed 26 times for 323 yards, an average of 12.4 yards per carry, in building a 27-0 halftime lead.
White had a school-record 93-yard touchdown run on UW’s first offensive play, added a 38-yard run and finished the half with 176 yards on 14 carries (12.6 average).
His final totals: 20 carries for 205 yards and a touchdown.
Gordon had runs of 44 and 42 yards and finished the half with 120 yards and a touchdown on just 10 carries (12.0 average)
His final totals: 13 carries for 146 yards and a touchdown.
Clement, who missed the BYU game because of a minor hamstring injury and didn’t have a carry at Iowa, added 108 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.
Wide receiver Jared Abbrederis didn’t catch a pass but scored on runs of 32 and 49 yards and finished 14 yards shy of giving UW a quartet of 100-yard runners.
“That just speaks volumes to our running backs and our line,” said tight end Jacob Pedersen, whose blocking assisted in the onslaught. “Our line did a great job and the running backs were making guys miss.
“Corey was breaking tackles left and right. All of those guys keep working hard every single day and you see the fruits of their labor on weekends.”
Meanwhile, UW’s defense shut down one of the more potent offenses in the Big Ten.
Indiana entered the day second in the Big Ten in scoring (43.1 points per game), first in passing offense (327.4 yards per game), second in passing TDs (28), second in total TDs (52) and third in average yards per play (7.0).
The Hoosiers had scored at least 28 points in 10 consecutive games dating to last season and had failed to score in just three quarters in their first nine games (36 quarters) this season.
UW’s defense, ranked in the top 14 nationally in four major categories—scoring defense, rushing defense, passing defense and total defense—didn’t care.
The Badgers recorded two turnovers in the first half and limited the sloppy Hoosiers to 84 yards and no points. Indiana finally got on the board when Mitch Ewald hit a 23-yard field goal with 7:35 left in the third quarter.
That cut the Hoosiers’ deficit to 30-3.
Indiana finished with a season-low 224 yards as quarterbacks Nate Sudfeld (9 of 22 for 99 yards) and Tre Roberson (3 of 8 for 23 yards) struggled in the wet weather and UW wasn’t fazed by the Hoosiers’ no-huddle scheme.
“It is really simple when you play these high-tempo teams,” said UW linebacker Chris Borland, who recorded a team-high 10 tackles. “It is just getting lined up and getting the call.
“It is really that simple, but it is a lot harder to do than it sounds. I think our scout team again did a great job….We were lined up and ready and had the call every time.”
Indiana fans can turn their attention to basketball, if they hadn’t already done so.
But the Hoosiers’ futility against UW isn’t limited to the football field. Bo Ryan’s basketball team is in the midst of a 12-game winning streak over the Hoosiers.
“I think each game has been unique to itself,” Borland said of UW’s dominance in football. “But a trend that has carried over is our offense’s ability to keep the ball.
“They have struggled in run defense and that is our offensive strength. So if we’re able to get turnovers or three-and-outs it really steam-rolls on them.”