In 2010, Montee Ball, James White and John Clay all nearly eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark en route to the Badgers first Rose Bowl appearance since 2000.
Two years later and two more Rose Bowl births, the Badgers are right back where they started with freshman Melvin Gordon joining Ball and White in the most dangerous backfield in all of college football.
In the 70-31 rout of Nebraska, Wisconsin had each member of the three-headed monster go over 100 yards, the first time in school history that three running backs eclipsed the century mark. They also combined for eight rushing touchdowns, another first in school history.
Here’s a closer look at each head of the monster and what they did on Saturday Night:
Senior RB Montee Ball
- Rushed for 202 yards on 21 carries and three touchdowns. It was his fourth career 200 yard rushing game and the second this season.
- His 16 yard score in the second quarter set the NCAA record for career rushing touchdowns with 74 and added two more to extend the record to 76. Additionally, Ball tied the NCAA record for career multiple TD games with 25.
- Ball on whether there was a statement to be made in the win, “Of course. We all felt like we had a big statement to make on a big stage. We just wanted to make sure we executed.”
- Ball on the redshirt freshman Gordon, “And I’m sure the coaches are extremely excited for the future because this player is going to be very, very good.”
Junior RB James White
- Finished the day with four rushing touchdowns, his fourth multiple-TD game this season and 10th of his career.
- James showed off his quarterback experience in high school with a three yard touchdown pass to tight-end Jacob Pedersen in the second quarter.
- When asked about the play-calling following the game, James responded, “We had to play an aggressive game and let it all out. Whatever coach called, we we’re going to try and execute.”
Freshman RB Melvin Gordon
- On the Badgers’ very first possession, Gordon broke off a career-long 56-yard touchdown and tallied a 60 yard gain later in the game.
- Gordon posted a career-high 216 yards on nine carries. When you’re averaging 24.0 yards a carry, maybe you should get more than one or two touches a game.
- Coach Bielema on the growth of Gordon, “I think Melvin would be the first to tell you he might be the player that’s grown the most in our program from game one to where we are today.”
What do you think of the Badgers’ three-pronged attack? Let me know by commenting below.
Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice and pretend to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best. If social media is not your thing, shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three Running Backs Together (collegefootball.ap.org)
Montee Ball in Championship Game (washingtonpost.com)Follow paulmbanks