MADISON - It was a night and day-like contrast for the University of Wisconsin football team’s first two games.
After primarily running the ball in its season opener versus Akron last week, No. 11 Wisconsin opened up its offense in a 51-14 win over Marshall Saturday.
After throwing just 10 passes last week, UW quarterback Allan Evridge was 17-of-26 for 308 yards and a touchdown.
“We knew he could throw the football,” UW head coach Bret Bielema said. “Allan made an individual statement just doing what he did."
The running game still made it presence, however, as P.J. Hill and John Clay rushed for two touchdowns each, with Zach Brown and Bradie Ewing also getting into the endzone.
But the Badgers’ high-powered offense doesn’t mean Saturday’s victory was an easy one.
For the second straight week, Wisconsin found itself in a bit of trouble against an unsuspecting non-conference team – albeit, this time was a bit more concerning.
UW’s offense couldn’t get things going right away, and Marshall took advantage by taking a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter. Evridge was 0-for-4 to start the game and the Thundering Herd’s defense was effective in stopping the Badgers’ running game.
The Badgers didn’t help themselves either as they committed some costly penalties – six total for 40 yards.
“Starting out the way we did, obviously we could control some of those things early on – some of the miscues, penalties, all the things that contributed to us having the start that we did,” Bielema said.
However, Wisconsin soon settled down and started to get things going.
After the Herd went up 14-0, the Badgers answered right back with a touchdown and then a 45-yard field goal by Phil Welch to cut the deficit to 14-10.
Then, Evridge started to get the passing game going as he drove the Badgers 88 yards down the field in the closing minutes before halftime – connecting on three straight passes before Brown punched in a touchdown to go up 17-14 before halftime.
After that drive, Evridge began to find a groove behind center, allowing the Badgers to rattle off 51 straight points and cruise to an easy victory in the second half.
“The biggest thing when you’re having to throw the ball away and trying not to take sacks and stuff, you just got to get that one,” Evridge said. “And once you get that one, you get rolling from there.”
The next game for Wisconsin will certainly be a much tougher opponent, and on the road. The Badgers will be traveling to Fresno State to play the Bulldogs, who was ranked No. 21 heading into this week.
After showing off its running game against Akron and now its passing game against Marshall, Wisconsin feels ready for the top 25 match-up.
“To walk off that field scoring 51-straight points without giving up any makes you want to pack up our bags and head to Fresno and keep playing,” Bielema said.