MADISON, Wis. – It was a typically strong Wisconsin Badger squad that hosted Tennessee Tech Saturday awash in a red-tinted Camp Randall Stadium and the defending Big Ten champion rolled to a 41-0 victory over the Golden Eagles in front of 77,785 bouncing, cheering fans.
Tech (1-1) just couldn't generate much offense as the Badgers (2-0) posted their second consecutive shutout to open the season.
"We are going home a better team after playing Wisconsin," said Golden Eagle head coach. "We faced a very, very good football team and I thought, for the most part, we competed with them.
"Now we get ready for Hampton, and the next 10 games," he added.
As they did in their 45-0 opening day win over UMass, the Badgers put three runningbacks on display with all three topping the 100-yard mark. Wisconsin had 606 yards of offense, including 387 on the ground with four touchdowns.
Corey Clement used a 75-yard TD run in the fourth quarter to pace the Badger ground game, finishing with 149 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, while Melvin Gordon added 140 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, mostly in the first half. James White rushed for 109 yard and touchdowns on 22 carries.
UW quarterback Joel Stave was 24-for-29 passing for 219 yards and three touchdowns.
Golden Eagle quarterback Darian Stone, facing pressure throughout the contest, was 8-for-19 for 69 passing yards. He avoided any sacks. Stone led Tech's rushing game with 16 yards on seven carries, while Stephen Bush had 15 yards and Cody Forbes finished with 13 yards. Krys Cates had two catches for 20 yards to lead the receivers.
One other highlight Saturday was the punting of senior Chad Zinchini, who averaged 50 yards on nine punts, including a 70-yard blast that he got to bounce out-of-bounds inside the Badger one-yard line.
The Golden Eagles return to the Football Championship Subdivision next week with a visit to Hampton University for a 5 p.m. game Saturday against the Pirates.
Comments from Coach Watson Brown Opening statement:
"First, I would like to thank Wisconsin for letting us come. It means a lot to our kids and it's something that they will never forget. And we've done a lot of this, this team hasn't, this is a younger team and I think most of these kids' second time of doing this. They went to Oregon last year. I want to thank Barry [Alvarez] for doing this and letting us come. It's a classy place, they do things the right way. Solid, classy football team that is going to be very good in my opinion. I'm proud of my guys, I thought they played their hearts out, they tried hard, we're better than that, we can play a little better than that. A lot of times physical play can make you not play as well. And there's people close to [quarterback] Darian's [Stone] face. And last week we stood back there like the Wisconsin guy did and threw the ball. Today he was running for his life when we would pass. Just little things like that. Last week, receivers don't have somebody close to them when they're catching the ball. We were always in the down and distance that we wanted to be in today. This is what I was scared about, that style of play. There's not a whole lot of turnovers, they run right down your throats with the ball, throw a lot of one or two or three-man routes and just get the one-on-ones and throw it to them. So there's not a lot of opportunity for turnover. We needed to move the ball much better to hang around than we did today, and our poor defense just had to play and play and play. And they did. We played a lot of players. Hopefully we got out of here without a lot of injury. But I'm proud of my kids, they hung around and fought. They're classy kids. They try really hard. I think we'll get a lot out of this. We could've played another 'gimme' ourselves and not been here today and been 2-0. I think we're a better team leaving here today playing the University of Wisconsin than if we were playing another game that we beat somebody really bad."
On whether or not the turnover on the first play of the game set the tone:
"The tone was set by offense and defensive dominance up front. The line of scrimmage was just dominating all day long. The turnover didn't help but there were eight more scores I think after that. That didn't do it. We fumbled the first play, he was running with the ball and gained three or four yards, gets hit and loses the ball. But I thought the difference in today was just the dominance up front. That was probably the most we've been just dominated at the line of scrimmage I think on both sides. Our defensive kids really fought and hung in there but it's second-and-6 every time. That's the best we could seem to do. They're always third-and-1, third-and-2, first down. And then when they would throw the ball, we just got to stand back there. We got one good sack early in the game where we beat them in a long yardage, but really he just stood back there all day long. That's where I think Wisconsin is really good, they might be underrated. I think they're really good up front on both sides. I'm talking about front seven on defense, those linebackers are really good players. Strong kids, really good football sense, got a great knack for the ball and just get off blocks really, really well."
On whether or not the team was surprised by how much Wisconsin was able to pass on them:
"We knew coming in we were going to crowd them. We had to put a bunch of people up there to try to stop [the running backs]. I think what [cornerback] James [Huguely] is trying to get out is he knew he was one-on-one pretty much all day long. And I think he hung in there. No. 4 [WR Jared Abbrederis], No. 9 [WR Jordan Fredrick] and No. 3 [WR Kenzel Doe], they got some good guys. Our poor corners, we just basically said 'Cat 'em up, they're yours because we're going to have to put everything we got up here to stop these guys.' If we would've backed off and tried to play with a four-deep secondary and not have nine in."