Run Strong

Facing a rushing defense that gave up 217.3 yards per game, No.17 Wisconsin's three tailbacks and its senior wide receiver didn't waste a golden opportunity, rushing for 554 yards and six touchdowns in a 51-3 blowout over Indiana.

MADISON – It was a rainy and windy day on Saturday inside Camp Randall Stadium, but that didn't affect Wisconsin's running game in the 51-3 drubbing of Indiana. While those conditions may have slowed the Hoosiers' offense, which averaged 527.1 yards per game, they could not have been better for the Badgers game plan.

"(We) love it," guard Ryan Groy said. "As an offensive lineman that's what you play for. You've got to run the ball and it's on us. (In) games like that, we get a little more hungry and it's off to the races."

And off the races they were.

Senior James White made it look easy on Wisconsin's first play from scrimmage following a Sojourn Shelton interception, carrying the ball 93 yards almost untouched to the end zone to snag the quick 7-0 lead.

"We wanted to come out and start fast and I think that gave us a lot of momentum going forward," said White, who finished with 205 yards, averaged 10.2 yards per game and that touchdown.

White's run was just the fourth of 90 yards or longer in the FBS this season, and it was just the start of a long day for the Hoosiers.

Melvin Gordon (13 carries, 146 yards and a touchdown) and White rolled for 323 rushing yards in the first half and added 221 more in the second half, which doubled the average yards the Hoosiers' allow (270).

Even Corey Clement got involved in the fourth quarter and picked up everyone else left off, pitching in 108 rushing yards and his first two career touchdowns against Indiana.

"We knew what the conditions were going to be and that's running back weather right there," Gordon said. "We knew that was a passing team, so the weather would work against them and it worked right for us, so knew we were going to get the ball, have to put the team on our back and that we definitely did that today."

Coming into the game, the Hoosiers led the Big Ten with eight fumble recoveries; something the Hoosiers likely would need to rely to have any chance at stopping the Wisconsin rushing attack with that strength.

Unfortunately that advantage was nullified by White and Gordon, who have not lost a fumble in 2013 and have only two lost fumbles in 929 career touches. Since 2010, the Badgers have gone 33 of their 49 games without losing one, including Saturday.

"The one fumble it was against me," said Gordon, who recovered his own fumble in the third quarter. "Had two hands on it, (but the) guy just got a good strip. It was wet out there. Sometimes you just got to go down. I like to fight for yards. That's how I am, but I just have to get smart in situations like that."

The success of the running game, combined with an early 20-0 lead, kept the ball and the clock moving, so the passing game was not needed often. That didn't mean the UW receivers weren't involved in other ways. Alex Erickson and Jared Abbrederis helped on numerous runs by locking onto their blocks downfield and while Abbrederis was held without a catch for the first time since 2010, he got in on the rushing bonanza, carrying the ball three times for 86 yards and his first two career rushing touchdowns.

"I knew coming in our game plan was to run the ball," Abbrederis said. "It's a little bit different not really getting a bunch of catches or anything like that, but we did a good job, got the victory and that's all that really matters."

The Badgers' new wrinkle - sending Abbrederis around on the jet sweep - worked for those two touchdowns from 32 and 49 yards out, the second of which made it 37-3 at the end of the third quarter.

On those plays the tailbacks returned the favor, giving crucial downfield blocks that sprung him free.

"I was joking around with James and said it was about time we switched it up a little bit," said Abbrederis.


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