MADISON-Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen has shown in two seasons that he knows how to win at Camp Randall Stadium, boasting an impressive 11-1 record. Winning away from home, however, has been a challenge for him and his program.
Still seeking its first road win of the season, Wisconsin will have its third shot at road success when the Badgers travel to Rutgers (5-3, 1-3) Saturday.
“You got to win on the road if you have an opportunity to be a good team and potentially to have any chance at being a great team; we haven’t gotten that done yet this year,” said Andersen, who is 3-5 on road or neutral sites in two seasons at Wisconsin. “We’re looking forward to getting on the road, but it will be a challenge. Every game in the Big Ten is a challenge, and every game on the road is even a bigger challenge.”
Controlling their fate to play in the Big Ten championship game, Wisconsin plays three of its final five games away from home, meaning the Badgers need to learn to win away from home in order to be a championship program. A win would also mean something to linebacker Sherard Cadogan, quarterback Tanner McEvoy and running back Corey Clement, the three players on UW’s roster who hails from New Jersey.
Clement was recruited out of high school by Rutgers and has been an impact player this year for the Badgers, rushing for 566 yards and six total touchdowns.
“I think Corey has played well all year long,” said Andersen. “I think the more experience you get the better player you get. He’s played hard from the beginning. He prepared very, very well but it’s fun to go home and play. I’m sure there’s no question he’ll get a little extra excitement he’ll have a lot of people in the stands.”
Game-Time DecisionRutgers head coach Kyle Flood said senior quarterback Gary Nova is a game-time decision. If Nova can’t go, Wisconsin will face redshirt freshman Chris Laviano in his first career start. No matter who lines up under center, Andersen believes the Scarlet Knights’ offense won’t change.
“Experience is always a big thing, and that is hard to evaluate off of tape, but when you have a young man who has played as much as Gary Nova, he just brings a calming feeling I’m sure to the whole football program and not just the offense,” Andersen said. “I would say that’s a difference and that would be at any experienced position. The other young man came in the game last week, handled himself well, took them down the field a couple of times (and) made some big plays, so I would expect the offense to stay the same.”
“I would say this toughness, their ability to adjust to change has been fantastic, be patient, understand when it’s your time (to) take advantage of your opportunity. I say it all the time, they’re perfect examples of young men who make their reps count, they don’t count their reps. When opportunities knock they’ve done tremendous jobs. And then off the field, their presence is felt in the classroom. They expect to exceed at a very, very high level. They’re both way smarter then me; I promise you that much.”