By Lucas Gulotta, Associate College Football Editor
GAME NOTES: Gary Andersen hopes to stay unbeaten as the coach of the Badgers
on Saturday when No. 21 Wisconsin hosts the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles at
Camp Randall Stadium.
Watson Brown begin the seventh year of his tenure at Tennessee Tech with a
63-7 victory over Cumberland, an NAIA school. TTU won the Ohio Valley
Conference championship in 2011, but injuries prevented it from repeating and
it finished 2012 with a 3-8 record. The Golden Eagles faced a ranked FBS foe
last season and they were unable to pull off the unexpected upset, losing
63-14 at Oregon. Brown has compiled a 29-39 record during his time at TTU.
Andersen's debut with the Badgers couldn't have went better as they coasted to
a 45-0 decision over Massachusetts. Wisconsin had three running backs reach
the 100-yard plateau in the contest for the second time in three games after
failing to do so in the first 1,170 games of its history. Andersen guided Utah
State to the WAC championship and a victory in the Potato Bowl in 2012. The
Badgers have began the season 2-0 in nine consecutive years.
Wisconsin is 11-0 against FCS opponents. It has never before faced TTU, which
is 0-8 against FBS programs under Brown. The Badgers have defeated 27
consecutive non-conference opponents at home.
TTU completely overpowered its NAIA opponent in week one, amassing 505 yards
of total offense while limiting Cumberland to just 179 yards. The Golden
Eagles have gone over the 500 yards of total offense mark six times under
Brown. Junior quarterback Darian Stone was sharp, completing 8-of-11 passes
for 143 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore wideout Krys Cates racked up a
team-high 63 receiving yards on two catches.
Nine different Golden Eagles took a handoff in the lopsided win. Starting
tailback Stephen Bush produced 51 yards and a touchdown on just six attempts.
Junior running back Cody Forbes tallied a team-high 69 yards on eight carries.
Sophomore running back Ladarius Vanlier also made a big impact as he accounted
for 188 all-purpose yards and set a new school record with his 93-yard punt
return for a score. He was selected as the OVC's Co-Special Teams Player of
The Golden Eagles were able to post 407.4 yards of total offense and 31.6
points per game in 2012. Andersen is aware of how dangerous they can be with
their athletic corps of skill players.
"Tennessee Tech, wide open offense now. They've got some kids that can run.
They're a skillful group and had their ups and downs," said Andersen.
"Obviously, the first week they scored a bunch of points and showed that they
are a true spread offense. They give you everything that they can possibly do
to spread the field north and south and east and west. Did a very good job of
that in the first game. So it will be a big, big challenge."
Their defensive unit was very weak though. TTU allowed 466.3 yards and 39.4
points per contest. It played very well in its opener from start to finish.
With 71 players seeing action in the game, 32 different Golden Eagles made
tackles. With so many players seeing action, nobody posted big numbers.
Sophomore Bill Dillard and junior Tra'Darius Goff led the tackle chart with
seven stops each.
Wisconsin's rushing attack is once again one of the best in the nation.
Running backs Melvin Gordon (144 yards), James White (143) and Corey Clement
(101) all had spectacular showings in the opener versus UMass. White is the
leading active rusher among FBS running backs with 2,714 career yards. Clement
became the first true freshman to surpass the century mark in the opener in
The Badgers converted 8-of-11 third downs and racked up 598 yards of total
offense. Joel Stave finished 9-of-17 for 197 yards and added a rushing score
while Jared Abbrederis caught a pair of touchdown passes en route to 122 yards
receiving. Abbrederis is averaging 17.3 yards per catch for his career, which
leads all active FBS players.
First-year defensive coordinator Dave Aranda's new-look defense held up
against UMass. The Badgers were one of just two FBS programs to earn a shutout
win over an FBS foe in week one. The Minutemen averaged just 3.7 yards per
pass attempt and crossed midfield just three times.
Chris Boland led Wisconsin with nine total stops. Sejour Shelton registered
his first interception of the season and Brendan Kelly forced a fumble.
"A couple young players of note that played well," said Andersen after the
win. "I thought Sojourn came in and played well. Ethan, although far from a
young player, did a tremendous job of being injured in camp and then coming
back and playing the way that he played in that game. Just a couple things
Wisconsin's power rushing attack is going to be difficult to derail for TTU.
Although the Golden Eagles have some offensive firepower, their effectiveness
will be limited by the Badgers' tenacious defense.