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Rutgers vs. Wisconsin: Thrice as nice for Corey Clement, Badgers in 48-10 win

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Guess who's back, back again. Corey Clement's back, tell a friend.

MADISON -- Apologies to Aristotle, but patience is more than just a virtue.

Patience is Wisconsin running back Corey Clement sitting in the shadows of future NFL running back James White and Heisman Trophy finalist Melvin Gordon for two seasons. Patience is the vexation brought about by exiting the season opener against Alabama on primetime television after finally taking over the reins.

Patience is a mid-season trip to Germany for sports hernia surgery, then watching helplessly as the offense that you were supposed to headline sputters repeatedly in a 10-6 loss to Iowa. Patience is missing seven consecutive games in a season that was supposed to be your national breaking out party.

Patience is frustrating -- and it rears its head rather often.

"It was tested every day," Clement said after the Badgers dominated Rutgers 48-10 Saturday afternoon on Halloween.

If Clement was going through daily tests of patience, the results came back Saturday as he made his long-awaited return in front of 74,575 anticipatory sets of eyes at Camp Randall Stadium.

They read favorably for the junior running back: 11 carries, 115 yards and three touchdowns.

Led by Clement's trio of scores, the Badgers (7-2, 4-1 Big Ten) handed their East Coast brethren from Rutgers a decimating blow for the entirety of 60 minutes Saturday. A newly revived offense found its burst as the Badgers' stalwart defense once again silenced the opposition.

"It wasn't perfect, but appreciate this group and the effort they gave," Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst said. "It was a good day that way."

A product of Glassboro, N.J., Clement wasn't the only Jersey Boy to shine against the school from his home state.

Wide receiver/safety Tanner McEvoy scored a 20-yard rushing touchdown, intercepted a pass, and registered one sack in a big day for the redshirt senior from Hillsdale, N.J.

"It was fun, it's nice to just have the opportunity," said McEvoy, who also added four tackles. "Coach believes in me. Obviously we had the injury with Rob [Wheelwright] last week and guys have to step up."

The effort from McEvoy and the rest of the Badgers' defense was precisely what fans have come to expect from the unit. It held the Scarlet Knights to 165 total yards on offense while only allowing six completions and forcing two turnovers.

For the fourth time this season at home, Wisconsin's defense was not responsible for allowing a touchdown.

"We just kind of play with a chip on our shoulder every week, and that's something that's stressed to us a lot by the coaches," redshirt junior outside linebacker Vince Biegel said.

The spotlight, however, was on Clement all afternoon long.

On his second carry since Sept. 5, Clement took the ball through the right side, made one sharp cut back up the middle and burst through the secondary unscathed for a 12-yard touchdown run to put the Badgers up 10-0 with 9:15 remaining in the first quarter.

After scoring, Clement's excitement couldn't be contained. Emotions running high, he tossed the ball about 15 yards due north toward the Wisconsin student section, as if to officially announce his return.

"This whole process has been allowing myself to slow the game down a lot more and become more patient," Clement said. "And when I got into the end zone, I forgot how to act."

Though it didn't quite reach Jose Bautista levels of eccentrics, Clement's heave, which brought about a 15-yard penalty for excessive celebration, was the disposal of seven weeks of patience and pent-up frustration.

"It sucks, but it's life," Clement said of the groin injury that shelved him for three non-conference games and the Badgers' first four Big Ten contests. "You can't really change anything that God puts in front of you. I believe it was a testing point, and he allowed me to come back strong."

Clement found pay dirt twice more before all was said and done.

His second touchdown came on a sweep to the left that Clement converted into a 21-yard touchdown to put Wisconsin up 24-3 with 3:30 to go in the second quarter.

Clement's third score came on a 1-yard plunge that made the score 34-3 in the third quarter, and it required the very thing he clung to for the past seven weeks: patience.

On a dive to the left, the Scarlet Knights initially plugged any opening. That forced Clement to wait for right guard Walker Williams to pull through and deliver the necessary block to set him free for the touchdown.

The score came three plays after outside linebacker Joe Schobert recovered a fumbled snap at the Rutgers 4-yard line.

Wisconsin's other turnover came via a gift from the football gods, presumably feeling amiable and apologetic for providing the gloomy weather that brought about a relatively sparse crowd by Camp Randall's standard.

A pass from quarterback Chris Laviano pass down the sideline ricocheted off Schobert's white helmet and fortuitously bounced directly into the opportunistic hands of McEvoy, who was providing help coverage over the top.

It was a play straight from online videos of Madden NFL glitches, one that would force many players of the video game to instantly shut off their game systems in a fit of rage.

On this afternoon, however, there was no need for Rutgers to hit the power button; the Badgers simply dominated them in every facet of the game.

Wisconsin's special teams came to the aid of the offense greatly during their big first half. Three Rutgers punts netted a total of 57 yards, giving Wisconsin starting field position at the Scarlet Knights' 41, 34 and 28 yard lines.

Each of those three drives resulted in a touchdown for a Badgers offense that, in just 30 minutes, bested their previous highest scoring output in a Big Ten game.

Wisconsin's average starting field position was at their own 47, compared with the Scarlet Knights' at their own 25.

"I thought it was going to be a heck of a challenge for our coverage units, and I thought we did a nice job," Chryst said.

Redshirt senior quarterback Joel Stave was not at his best, but found receivers down the field with consistency aside from a poor throw that resulted in a Rutgers touchdown. The redshirt senior completed 13 of his 25 attempts with one touchdown and two interceptions.

"Kind of like every game, some good stuff and some that's he's clearly got to learn from," Chryst said of his signal-caller. "We've got to take better care of the ball at the quarterback spot."

Stave's touchdown came on a 4th-and-7 strike to redshirt senior wide receiver Alex Erickson for 31 yards to put Wisconsin up 24-3 in the second quarter.

"They played man coverage and I've got a lot of faith in Alex to get open, beat one-on-one coverage," Stave said. "I just had a lot of confidence that he'd be there, and he was."

Stave once again showed he was at his best during a two-minute drill at the end of the first half. Starting at his team's 39 yard line, Stave connected on throws of eight, 31 and 16 yards to set up a Rafael Gaglianone 27-yard chip shot to put Wisconsin up 27-3 at the intermission.

Through their four Big Ten games, the Badgers highest point total was 24 points. On Saturday, that mark was put to rest in a long-awaited performance from the offense.

"This was a big game for the whole offense," redshirt junior running back Dare Ogunbowale, whose four-yard touchdown run made it a 41-10 game in the third quarter, said. "Obviously for Corey, that's huge for us and huge for him to get your confidence. But for the whole offense, this was definitely a big game for us and we put up some good numbers."

Those good numbers, as Ogunbowale referenced, reflected balance in the Badgers attack. 38 rushing attempts went for 209 yards, while Stave threw for 217 yards and was not sacked.

A 50-yard pick-six with three minutes left in the third quarter, however, marred Stave's day. Under pressure, the quarterback under threw his intended receiver In Erickson, and it resulted in the Scarlet Knights' lone touchdown of the day.

Missing star wide receiver Leonte Carroo, Rutgers was hopelessly devoted to running the ball against a stout Badgers front line.

After allowing an uncharacteristic 55 rushing yards on Rutgers first quarter field goal drive, defensive coordinator Dave Aranda issued an emphatic challenge to his defense to play to its capability.

"It's not often coach Aranda gets fired up, so when he does yell at you, it's for real."

"It's not often coach Aranda gets fired up, so when he does yell at you, it's for real," senior outside linebacker Joe Schobert said.

From then-on, it was business as usual for Aranda's group. The Scarlet Knights would only grind out 28 yards on the ground outside of that drive, finishing with just 2.2 yards per carry, and only two first downs over the game's final 51 minutes.

"Once we got settled down and got honed in on what we're supposed to do, we did a great job on defense," cornerback Darius Hillary said.

Hydration for the Badgers defense was almost optional with how easily they were able to get Rutgers off the field. The Scarlet Knights only converted two of 15 third down attempts.

"It's everybody doing their job. We kind of all feed off each other, from the back end going all the way up to the D-linemen," Hillary said. "If they can get to the quarterback, that make sour job much easier, but if they can't get to the quarterback, then we're covering out there for a little while. So we kind of work off each and other it balances out."

A heavy dosage of the Scarlet Knights ground attack gave safety Joe Ferguson the most game action of his career as he piled up five tackles. Inside linebacker Jack Cichy, filling in for the injured Chris Orr, and safety Michael Caputo tied for the team lead with eight tackles each.

Erickson led the game with 103 receiving yards to go along with his touchdown on six catches. Redshirt sophomore tight end Troy Fumagalli added three grabs for 55 yards.

Ogunbowale opened the game with a 24-yard rush to help set up Gaglianone's 49-yard field goal, and finished with 45 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

Laviano completed 4-of-14 passes for just 31 yards and an interception to McEvoy. Backup Hayden Rettig went two-for-six for 51 yards on the Scarlet Knights' final drive.

The Badgers had long been awaiting a complete game and dominating team win against a Big Ten opponent.

On Saturday, they provided just that. All it took was a little patience.