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Wisconsin Running Attack Reminding Fans of Big Ten Football at Its Best

USA Today
Randy ChambersAnalyst INovember 16, 2013

Wisconsin continues to stick to a game plan that has worked for them for years and overwhelm teams with a powerful running game. The latest victim was Indiana in a 51-3 blowout at Camp Randall Stadium. The rainy weather wasn't ideal for the passing game, which played right in the hands of the Badgers' running attack.

This is how well it worked for Wisconsin on Saturday: 554 rushing yards and a 11.1 yards per carry average.

Running back James White told the AP that the success was due to Indiana constantly blitzing:

"They started doing run blitzes a little more and if you're able to pick those up correctly, you get big gains, and we were just trying to take advantage of that," he said.

However, if you've been keeping tabs on this rivalry, you'd know that this is nothing new for UW.

Blame Indiana's lack of defense all you'd like, Wisconsin has done this all season. It's the Badgers fifth straight game of more than 200 rushing yards and this effort will bump up their season average, which was already a staggering 6.49 yards per carry entering Saturday's game.

Time to make it official. White and Melvin Gordon are the best running back 1-2 punch in college football. Saturday's victory is the fifth time this season where both runners topped 100 rushing yards in the same game.

It's your typical grandfather's style of football.

Line up in the I-formation and pound the ball right up the middle. The defense knows you're going to run it, everybody in the stadium and at home watching knows what's coming, still, it can't be stopped. Wisconsin has perfected Big Ten football at its best.

While every other offense in the country is worrying about running 70-plus plays and looking sexy, Wisconsin sticks to playing old man football and keeping the conference tradition alive. The Badgers aren't looking to appear on highlight films or searching for acceptance from the younger generation. Instead, they're playing the game the only way they know how, and it's working to perfection.

In fact, Big Ten teams in the past have stuck to this formula and done fairly well. Wisconsin came into this game averaging 280.6 rushing yards per contest, which was second best in the Big Ten and 10th best in the country. It's also more than past Big Ten champions. (Note: sanctions weren't included in this chart)

Past Big Ten Champions Rushing Stats
YearChampionAverage Rushing YardsBig Ten RankNational Rank
2012Wisconsin236.4313
2011Wisconsin235.6111
2010Ohio State220.1414
2009Ohio State195.4319
2008Penn State205.8217
2007Ohio State196.9428
2006Ohio State169.8326
2005Penn State212.8214
2004Michigan/Iowa153.6 / 72.65 / 1161 / 116
2003Michigan175.9438
Sports-reference.com/cfb

How can you not be impressed?

Wisconsin improved to 8-2 on the season and has now won five games in a row. If it wasn't for Ohio State refusing to lose, this program would be in a great position to play for a Big Ten title. Even without that, Wisconsin does make a strong case for qualifying for an at-large bid in a BCS bowl.

The Badgers' offense is the last of a dying breed. And boy, is it fun to watch.

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