MADISON -- With a steady rain soaking Camp Randall Stadium, it quickly became apparent that Saturday’s game between Wisconsin and Indiana would be decided on the ground.
Unfortunately for the Hoosiers’ defense, it was. The Badgers torched the Hoosiers on the ground for 554 rushing yards, as senior tailback James White’s career day of 205 rushing yards and a touchdown led the way as Wisconsin thrashed Indiana, 51-3.
In a display of complete dominance, Wisconsin amassed 676 yards of total offense in the win, the second highest mark in school history.
"Opportunities are presenting itself to James and he’s taking advantage of it," Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen said. "James has been taking advantage of that the last few weeks. He’s been huge for us, he’s broken big, big plays."
Speaking of big plays, White started off the game by taking the Badgers’ first offensive play 93-yards for the longest rushing touchdown in school history.
Utilizing a fake to fellow running back Melvin Gordon —who finished the game with 146 rushing yards and a touchdown— White took the handoff and accelerated to the middle. Shaking off a would-be-tackler at the line of scrimmage, White burst free through the line to find himself in a foot race for the endzone.
"We faked the fly sweep to Melvin and the defense was out of their gaps," White said. "All I had to do is run straight…it was a big play. We wanted to start fast."
"It’s always good when you rip the game off the first play with a touchdown," Gordon said. "After (White) busted the 93-yarder, I knew it was going to be a long day for me. I was trying to catch him, it is a competition."
With the tone set, the Badgers simply followed up on a simple formula they’ve used against the Hoosiers the past several years: run the ball.
Taking advantage of several Hoosier miscues and shutdown defensive play, the Wisconsin offense simply exerted its will on its opponent in the trenches. Scoring on its first four drives, UW led 20-0 at the end of the first quarter thanks to a one-yard touchdown run by Gordon and a pair of field goals from Jack Russell.
By the end of the first half Wisconsin had rushed for 323 yards, highlighted by a 36-yard touchdown by wide receiver Jared Abbrederis on a jet sweep to extend the lead to 27-0 at half.
"We were confident in the game plan we had," redshirt freshman center Dan Voltz said. "We played well up front and it showed. To have 500 yards rushing is impressive against any team."
After another Russell field goal in the third quarter, the Hoosiers finally got on the board with a 23-yard field goal from Mitch Ewald. That would be the only time Indiana would touch the scoreboard, as Wisconsin’s offense continued to pile on the yards and points.
With just over 10 seconds left in the third quarter, Abbrederis took another sweep to the right, this time following terrific outside blocking from White and tight end Jacob Pedersen for a 49-yard touchdown to make the score 37-3 at the end of the third quarter.
With the game well in hand, the Badgers put in freshman tailback Corey Clement to finish up the game. Not missing a beat, Clement scored two rushing touchdowns of his own in the final quarter, finishing the game with 109 yards on 11 carries.
"James and Melvin did an outstanding job with getting me into the game," Clement said. "Being a freshman you want to show what you’re capable of doing even when there’s about 20 seconds left."
While the Wisconsin offense cruised along throughout the game, Indiana’s simply struggled to create any rhythm. Coming into Saturday’s game with a 10-game streak of scoring at least 28 points, the Hoosiers’ high-octane offense slowed to a crawl as the wet weather and a strong wind brought their potent passing game to a halt.
Throwing an interception to UW cornerback Sojourn Shelton on the game’s opening drive and losing a snap on the next, IU quarterback Nate Sudfeld finished a forgettable day going just of 9-of-22 through the air for 99 yards.
Indiana’s offense only managed to gain 224 total yards and score just a field goal—well below the team’s averages of 43.1 points and 527.1 yards per game.
Redshirt senior linebacker Chris Borland led the Badgers with 10 tackles, his 17th career game with double-digit tackles and his fifth of the season.
"(Indiana’s) offense had us all worried, had me a little bit petrified walking into this game because they are very, very talented on the offensive side of the ball," Andersen said. "Our kids played lights out today. My hat goes off to them and the defensive staff for the preparation that they did."
Notes: Wisconsin has won nine straight games against Indiana, outscoring the Hoosiers 467-136 in those games. UW has averaged 346.0 rushing yards per game in those nine wins. It's the longest winning streak by either team in the series, which dates back to 1907... The Badgers had seven rushes of at least 30 yards against the Hoosiers. That's more than 73 FBS teams had on the season entering Saturday... James White went over 1,000 yards on the season. He is the eighth player in Wisconsin history to have multiple 1,000-yard seasons... White and Melvin Gordon are now both over the 1,000-yard mark rushing on the season, making it just the second time in team history that Wisconsin has had two 1-000-yard rushers in a single season. The only other was 2010, when White and John Clay accomplished the feat.