Notes: Back to their Running Ways

After being grounded against No.4 Ohio State, Wisconsin's running game regain its edge against No.19 Northwestern, as Melvin Gordon and James White both broke the 100-yard barrier in a 35-6 win over the Wildcats.

MADISON ¬¬- After Ohio State gashed Northwestern for 248 yards on the ground, the Wisconsin tailbacks knew they could have similar results.

Finishing the game with 286 yards on the ground and 5.6 yards per carry, it's obvious that Wisconsin didn't want to finish second to Ohio State for the second game in a row.

Melvin Gordon, who suffered an injury against Ohio State, led the Badgers with 172 rushing yards and a touchdown. If his knee was bothering him, nobody could tell.

"Yeah, I was fine when I got back to practice," said Gordon. "I was full speed and I was confident coming out here and it didn't slow me down one bit."

Senior James White finished the game with 101 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown and wasn't surprised that Wisconsin had success rushing the football.

"Their defensive line plays aggressive so if we stay on our keys they take themselves out of the gaps," said White. "There would be little creases for us to go out and make explosive plays."

With Wisconsin leading 14-3 late in the first half, Gordon delivered one of many knockout punches. Running a similar look that resulted in a play-action touchdown pass in the first quarter, Gordon took a jet sweep 71 yards for a touchdown, giving the Badges a boost going into the second half.

"That definitely gave us momentum," Gordon said. "We needed a score. We needed to go down there and score fast and we did, so that definitely was a big play that helped us out a lot."

Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen emphasizes that in order for the Badgers to have success on offense they are going to need to be able to bust big plays during the game. One of those players who can create explosive plays for the offense is Gordon.

"We try and get the ball in the hands of our most explosive players and he's one of them," White said. "Whenever he gets the opportunities he goes out and gets the job done."

Even with Wisconsin having success on the ground, Gordon is quick to point out that the reason Wisconsin had success running the football is because it starts up front.

"Those guys are great," he said. "They work extremely hard in practice. They don't really get that many substitutes in practice so they're pretty much practicing all day. When it comes to the game for them it makes it easy for them because how they practice so hard. They make it a lot easier on us. They made the holes, they pushed back guys for us, they gave us gaps and gave us creases."

White's 101-yard performance was the 13th game in his career where the senior rushed for over 100 yards. Funny enough in White's 13 games where he tops the century mark, a fellow running back also rushes for 100 yards.

"Those young man are very talented and we're all very lucky to have them in this program where they continue to work," Andersen said. "They work so well as a unit in the run game and it does take all of them. It's great to have unbelievable gifted kids running the football that can go the distance at any moment."

"We always expect to have a great performance out there each and every week," White added. "We have to be confident in ourselves and we knew there were going to be opportunities and we tried to capitalize on them."

Kicking Woes

Since the Big Ten opener, the Badgers have had Kyle French handle extra points and field goals and Andrew Endicott handled kickoffs. But after a missed field goal by French in the second quarter, Andersen substituted sophomore Jack Russell in for the remainder of the game.

When asked if Russell was the new starting kicker, Andersen simply replied "yes."

With Russell taking over the kicking duties from French, Andersen is still nervous about the kicking game but says he's confident Russell will be ready for Illinois.

McEvoy Shines

No one would have thought that Tanne McEvoy would be seeing time at safety this season, but Andersen couldn't be happier with McEvoy's performance so far.

"He's a serious presence in the middle of the field," Andersen said. "He's 6-5, he's 200 pounds and he's fast. I'm really proud of that kid. You want to talk about a kid finding a way to get himself on the field. He's done a great job. He's a very smart young man. He's very intelligent. He's grown and developed and has shown signs of making progress."

McEvoy has been able to translate his quarterback knowledge into playing the safety position.

"I would like to think so I see things I look at what the lineman and receivers do with their hands," McEvoy said. "I have a little weird things that I look at but I hope it helps me."

Extra Points: Chris Borland recorded 10 tackles , his 15th double-digit tackle game of his career … Jared Abbrederis ranks ranks third in school history with 21 career touchdown receptions (trailing only Lee Evans' 27 and Tony Simmons' 23) … Through four home games, Badgers' opponents are converting just 20.7 percent of third downs (12-for-58).


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