No. 23 Wisconsin stifles UMass 45-0 in opener
Gordon, White, Clement run wild
Big plays by Wisconsin made for a long afternoon for the Massachusetts Minutemen.
By the time the 45-0 loss to the 23rd-ranked Badgers was over Saturday, coach Charley Molnar realized it would be a while until his relatively new major college program could keep up with a Big Ten power.
Melvin Gordon ran for 144 yards and a 70-yard touchdown, James White added 143 and a 51-yard score, and No. 23 Wisconsin's revamped defense throttled Massachusetts in a 45-0 victory Saturday over Massachusetts in coach Gary Andersen's debut.
Newly-minted starting quarterback Joel Stave overcame a slow start to connect with receiver with Jared Abbrederis for two long touchdowns in the second half.
It was 31-0 with 10:31 to go in the third quarter by the time White sauntered through the line untouched and into the end zone for his long score.
"Some of the matchups you could see our guy just wasn't able to make a play on the ball. He was with him step-for-step and just couldn't make the play," Molnar said.
"Maybe four or five weeks from now, maybe next year it will be a different story. For now, we just weren't ready to do it."
Stacey Bedell finished with 70 yards on 19 carries for the Minutemen, who were also tripped up by a few pre-snap penalties. UMass finished with seven flags for 40 yards.
"Even if we were running on all cylinders, we would have been hard-pressed to get 10 points," Molnar said. "With us not running on all cylinders, you see it was impossible for us."
UMass was simply overmatched against the Big Ten's three-time defending champion. The Minutemen are only in their second year as an FBS program, and they had to play Saturday with two of their top offensive players — running back Jordan Broadnax and tight end Rob Blanchflower — out with injuries.
Quarterback Mike Wegzyn finished 9 of 23 for 73 yards and an interception.
Andersen replaced Bret Bielema, who left in December to take the Arkansas job. Andersen arrived from Utah State, where he led the Aggies to a school-record 11 wins in 2012.
Andersen promised the running game would remain a big part of the Badgers attack, even with standout Montee Ball gone. But new regimes always bring questions as to how a team might look, at least until actual games are played.
Well, the running game remains alive and well at Wisconsin. Even backup Corey Clement ran for 101 yards on 16 carries in the second half.
Gordon got 13 carries while White had 11.
The Minutemen didn't actually flaunt a sturdy defense to begin with. UMass gave up more than 40 points a game last season.
At Wisconsin, Andersen switched the base defense to a 3-4 scheme, and the Badgers showed no problems picking it up Saturday.
After Stave's 4-yard touchdown run gave Wisconsin a 7-0 lead, Brendan Kelly forced a fumble that was recovered by Ethan Armstrong.
Armstrong finished with five tackles, while fellow senior linebacker Chris Borland had nine stops.
Stave was intercepted on a deep pass down the middle by Devin Brown on the next play. He was 4 of 11 at the half with 36 yards.
But he recovered in the second half, helped by adjustments by Abbrederis on both of his long touchdown catches that were slightly off target. Burning his defender each time in man coverage, Abbrederis' scores came from 65 and 57 yards.
Stave finished 9 of 17 for the game for 197 yards. For UMass, Brown finished with nine tackles, while tight end Derek Beck had six catches for 37 yards.
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