Notes: Groy Gets it Done

Whatever spot he's needed to fill on the offensive line or the offense, junior Ryan Groy gets the job done, as he and his teammates help Wisconsin rush for 337 yards in a 38-13 thrashing of Minnesota.

MADISON - With a little over 20 games left in his college career, Ryan Groy acknowledges he has a lot more to achieve before he leaves the University for Wisconsin. For starters, he hasn't lined up at receiver or taken snaps at quarterback.

"It'd be fun for a couple plays," said Groy.

Continuing to fill out his offensive line Bingo card, Groy made his first career start at left tackle and helped pave the way for 337 team rushing yards in a 38-13 victory over Minnesota.

"Everybody is starting to get on their assignments better," said Groy. "Everybody is working together to get it done."

After getting only roughly five repetitions to prepare for the role before being inserted into the lineup against Purdue, Groy spent the entire week of preparation at left tackle; a position said requires more athleticism. It's the main reason why he was the perfect candidate to step in for injured left tackle Ricky Wagner.

"Ryan is a tremendous athlete," offensive line coach Bart Miller said this week. "He's a smart player. He's an experienced player. Those are things you look through in recruiting, but you also look through in your development of players. He's shown a lot of leadership this fall."

A 6-5, 190-pound freshman in high school, Groy played sports like basketball, golf, soccer and tennis to stay active. When he started bulking up to play offensive line, his agility stuck with him.

"Every day as a kid I was always out in the backyard playing with the neighbor kids," said Groy. "I was always doing something outside."

In a way, it's helped Groy contribute all over the field. He played fullback as a redshirt freshman, made starts at center and left guard at different points throughout last season and popped in at right guard when needed late in games in previous years.

"Just understanding the whole offense, not just the positions I was playing but what everybody was going, (that) helped me a lot," said Groy.

Successfully running the toss play to the left side in the second half against Purdue to get some big hits, Wisconsin went with the attack again, as Groy's seal block opened a huge alley for White on a 48-yard touchdown run to make it 24-6.

"(The OLs play) builds so much confidence, especially with Ryan Groy being able to move from left guard to left tackle," said quarterback Joel Stave. "That is really, really impressive, and shows how well he knows the whole scheme of things."

After being held under 175 rushing yards in five of its first six games, Wisconsin has rushed for 804 yards over the last two games.

"We always knew it was there," said Groy. "We always knew we had potential. We had the backs. We had the guys up front, tight ends and fullbacks. We just weren't executing. It's nice to put something together a couple games in a row to get the run going."

Stave Struggles

With a prevalent running attack, Wisconsin didn't need redshirt freshman Joel Stave to do much damage. Lucky for Stave, he was able to learn from his poorest performance from the season in a victory. Stave went 7-for-15 for 106 yards. He failed to throw a touchdown pass and twice cost Wisconsin points in the red zone for failing to get of the football. Struggling to feel the rush, the Gophers twice sacked Stave to knock Wisconsin out of field goal territory.

"In the first half we would have like to get some points out of those red zone opportunities we took three huge sacks," Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said. "Again Joel is learning how to be a quarterback. Some of those things he just has to get rid of the football but you coach well on Sunday's for a guy like that. We'll point those things out for him. We don't want him to mishandle the games because he played really well the rest of the game. It's part of the learning process."

Stave is well aware that he cost the Badgers possible points in the first half but he's not making any excuses.

"When we get into the red area we got to come away with points I can't move us out of there like that," Stave said. "That's something I got to watch and learn from. They played us well down there."

Although it's frustrating for any team to leave points out on the field, Bielema is confident that his young quarterback will learn.

"I think he's a guy who can take coaching he understands the situation," Bielema said. "If he's uncertain he tells you exactly where he's at. There are something's that as he gets a little bit more confidence on third down we'd like to see him be better at. Again that just takes a little bit of time and we have to be smart what we have do with him."

Even though Stave knows he can't leave points on the field, he's pleased with how he played.

"Individually I thought I played all right," Stave said. "There are things that I would like to have back but that's the case with every game, things here and there that I would like to have back, but it's never going to be perfect but that's what I'm looking for.

"I'm continuing to learn how to watch film better, and how to translate what I see on film onto the field."

Team Notes

• The Badgers have scored at least 31 points against Minnesota in each of the last 13 games (dating back to 2000).

• Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema improved to 7-0 vs. Minnesota, including a 4-0 mark at home.

• The Badgers have won 40 consecutive home games vs. unranked opponents, dating back to 2005.

• Wisconsin has won 16 of its last 19 Big Ten games, dating back to the 2010 season.

• After not recording an interception through the first five games, Wisconsin has picked off four passes in the last three games.

• UW averaged 16.3 points over the first three games of the season. In the last five games, the Badgers are averaging 34.2 points and have scored at least 27 points in each game.

• Wisconsin went 3-for-3 in the red zone, scoring two touchdowns. The Badgers are 13-for-14 in the red zone in Big Ten play, scoring 11 TDs.

Brian Becker contributed to this report

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