While the students, coaching staffs and players all change with time, the bread-and-butter running game stays the one constant in the Wisconsin Badgers football program.
A new three-headed rushing attack was revealed in the Badgers 45-0 shutout win over the Minutemen of UMass.
James White, Melvin Gordon and true freshman Corey Clement combined to rush for 388 rushing yards and all eclipsed the century mark, a feet done only twice before in school history.
What It Means: Whether the passing game is working or not, the Badgers always have a successful run game to turn to. The offensive line was particularly strong even though Coach Gary Andersen and his staff are trying to work out who the starting unit should be. Not as much praise can be thrown towards the passing game as starting quarterback Joel Stave was a mess in the first half while completing only 4-of-11 passes for 36 yards and an interception. Stave redeemed himself in the second half with a pair of deep touchdowns to Jared Abbrederis, but he still has a lot to prove.
As expected, this team is far from polished and has a few critical areas to shore up before they head on the road for their first true test at Arizona State. Definitely a nice start for the Badgers considering the question marks they had going in to the game.
Player of the Game: Melvin Gordon or MGIII (144 yards rushing on 13 carries and one touchdown)
White started the game at tailback but it didn’t take long to see that Gordon is the most talented back Wisconsin has. His 70 yard touchdown down the right sideline was a perfect blend of vision and speed. Andersen stated after the game that “Melvin and James are a tandem,” and I expect both to shine brightly this year. MG3 has risen from the new “III” Melvin is sporting after Gordon on the back of his jersey.
Highlight of the Game: Usually a spot for the best football play, I have an idea for something a little better today. Andersen credited back-up QB Curt Phillips with a “powerful” gesture during the post-game press conference. When Phillips name was called to go in to the game in the fourth quarter, he asked the coaching staff to put Bart Houston in the game to get his first ever game-action. That’s exactly why Phillips is a locker room guy.
Stat of the Game: The freshman Clement is the first Badger to rush for 100 yards in his debut since P.J. Hill ran for 130 yards on 22 carries against Bowling Green on September 2nd, 2006.
What’s Next: Another cupcake makes their way to Camp Randall when the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (1-0) come to town. The Golden Eagles rolled up Cumberland (whatever that school is?) 63-7 behind 505 yards of offense powered by the spread formation. Wisconsin will look to make some improvements and head to Arizona State with an unblemished 2-0 record.
What did you think of the Wisconsin Badgers season opening win? 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 sharing Fantasy Advice and pretends 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.
Images obtained from Wisconsin Badgers official Facebook page and zimbio.com.