COLLEGE PARK, MD – After making his triumphant return in last weekend’s 48-10 win over Rutgers, rushing for 115 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 carries, Corey Clement spent this Saturday back in Madison.
Experiencing increased soreness after playing his first game following his late September sports hernia surgery, Clement did not practice all week and was ruled out Thursday. It was the eighth game Clement has missed this season.
“Every day Corey tried to go,” said Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst following his team’s 31-24 victory over Maryland. “He was trying to get it to go. Really felt after Thursday that he didn’t have it in him to go.”
As has been the case for most of the season, Wisconsin’s running game struggled without him. The Badgers generated only 117 yards against a Maryland defense giving up 167.4 per game, ranked 13th in the Big Ten.
If the 57-yard run by Joe Schobert on a fake punt is removed, the final number looks even uglier, as UW’s tailbacks – despite Dare Ogunbowale rushing for a 21-yard score and Alec Ingold punching one in from 1-yard out - averaged only 2.8 yards per carry (31 for 88).
“I thought some of it was numbers, some of it was one guy being off,” said Chryst. “I think a little bit of patience would have helped out on some of those plays.”
Maryland native Taiwan Deal did make the trip and finished with 42 yards on nine carries (all in the second half). He was the team’s number two tailback throughout the first half of the season but had missed the last three games after his hurt his ankle in the first quarter against Nebraska Oct.10
“Taiwan did some good things coming in and running,” said Chryst. “I think everyone kind of took their turn.”
MCEVOY MAKING PLAYS
Not only were Wisconsin’s special teams a big boost in the first half, with Natrell Jamerson’s 98-yard kick return for a touchdown and Joe Schobert’s 57-yard run off a fake punt, Tanner McEvoy made sure he contributed to help out the Badgers’ struggling offense.
With Maryland quarterback Perry Hills rolling to his left and throwing across his body, McEvoy jumped in front of Terps receiver Malcolm Culmer for a 24-yard return down to the Maryland 9. UW turned that into a field goal.
McEvoy bumped his season interception total up to four when he picked off another pass in the fourth quarter and returning it 15 yards down to the Maryland 29. UW couldn’t convert that one into points when kicker Rafael Gaglianone missed from 47 yards.
“It’s a team effort definitely,” McEvoy. “I think our defense is starting to play better together every day. Every game we’re building on it.”
McEvoy also had a hand on the offense as a wildcat quarterback and catching a pass for 12 yards in the red zone.
CICHY SHINES AGAIN
With Chris Orr (leg) out for a second straight week, sophomore inside linebacker Jack Cichy made his second consecutive start. He did not disappoint again.
One of the bright spots for Wisconsin’s defense, Cichy finished with a game-high in tackles (10) tackles for loss (three) and sacks (two).
“I know what I’m capable of, but it’s intimidating coming out here the past two weeks and starting,” said Cichy. You don’t know what you’re going to get. You don’t know what is going to happen and it is a blessing to have things happen the way they have.”
EXTRA POINTS: UW’s last kick return for a touchdown was by Kenzel Doe in the 2014 Capital One Bowl. Ironically, Maryland plays on Capital One Bowl field at Byrd Stadium … Wisconsin has won at least eight games for seven straight seasons and clinched a winning record in Big Ten play for the sixth time in the last seven years … Wisconsin’s defense allowed at least 20 points for only the third time this season … UW’s record in the state of Maryland improved to 1-1. The Badgers lost to No.2 Navy, 36-7, in a 1945 game in Baltimore.