Clement returns, leads Badgers to rout of Rutgers
Final: Wisconsin 48, Rutgers 10
Key play: Corey Clement scores 12-yard touchdown run in first quarter
When the Badgers were still looking to get into an offensive rhythm, they turned to a guy that hadn’t played a game in two months. It was only Clement’s second carry of the day, so it was still unclear how he would look in between the tackles. Not only was that huge for Clement’s confidence, but it also got the Badger offensive line rolling. For a banged up unit that hasn’t looked like the group that led the nation in rushing last year, that was all it needed to dominate the rest of the day.
Telling stat: Rutgers held to 82 yards passing
You had to know it was going to be a rough go for the Scarlet Knights when news surfaced that Leonte Carroo would not be active. It was downright ugly. When Chris Laviano wasn’t running for his life from Vince Biegel, Darius Hillary was locking down Rutgers wideouts. In a game where the Scarlet Knights spent most of the game throwing, they still couldn’t get anything going. Rutgers didn’t even get a first down in the second half until there was four minutes left. You can’t be one-dimensional against the Wisconsin defense. As B1G offenses have found out, it usually makes for a tough afternoon.
-Clement is still really good
There was no guarantee that Clement was even going to suit up on Saturday after a sports hernia sidelined him the last two months. Not only did Clement play, he starred. The junior tailback scored three touchdowns and looked every bit like the star he was hyped up to be in the preseason. Paul Chryst had hoped to manage his carries. Dare Ogunbowale actually got the start and played the entire first series. But it was clear that when Clement is on the field, he was the most explosive player. He showed patience in space and that burst that made him one of the Badgers’ top weapons last year. Still, he’s not at full strength yet. He would’ve had a fourth touchdown on a 58-yard run had he not been noticeably hampered by the end of the run. Give him another week or two and that’s a runaway touchdown.
-Tanner McEvoy is the most versatile player in the B1G
What can’t he do? The quarterback-turned-safety made an improbable interception on a ball that hit Joe Schobert’s head. Later, he came through untouched and blew up Chris Laviano on a blitz. Of all the accolades this defense has rightfully received this year, McEvoy’s emergence in it might be an underrated element. Sure, it’s fun to watch him in the “Tannercat” formation on offense. That touchdown run further solidified his standing as the B1G’s most versatile player. The senior is clearly turning into a playmaker on the defensive side for a unit that has plenty as it is. That’s exactly what B1G offenses don’t want to hear.
What it means: Wisconsin looks like Wisconsin, Rutgers misses Carroo
That was the type of game everyone used to seeing from the Badgers at home. That was the first time Wisconsin looked like Wisconsin during B1G play. A big part of that was certainly the presence of Clement, who adds a game-changing element that this offense desperately needed. Even without Dan Voltz, the Badgers controlled the line of scrimmage. It was facing a Rutgers defense hasn’t stopped much of anything all year, especially lately. The Scarlet Knights looked lost without their star receiver. Carroo needs to be back for them to hang with anybody in the B1G. If his ankle injury is more serious than we were led to believe, it might be a long final month for the Scarlet Knights.