There is, of course, one significant downside to the Big Ten Conference’s decision to realign itself into geographically correct divisions next season.

The University of Wisconsin won’t get to play Indiana every year.

Indeed, after playing the Hoosiers on Saturday, the Badgers won’t see them again until 2017. As they used to say back when Indiana was good at football 40-some years ago, what a bummer.

Having the Hoosiers on the schedule every year has meant a statistics-padding, confidence-building blowout victory for the Badgers for almost a decade.

UW and Indiana are the yin and yang of the Big Ten, with their games pitting the conference’s best rushing offense against its worst rushing defense, almost always with predictable results.

It was no different Saturday when 17th-ranked UW rolled to a 51-3 victory over Indiana at soggy, wind-blown Camp Randall Stadium. On UW’s first play from scrimmage, tailback James White burst through a gaping hole and raced 93 yards for a touchdown, setting the tone for still another UW rushing day that had reporters poring over the record books.

“To start off with one play that goes for (93) yards, that really got us moving,” tight end Jacob Pedersen said. “It showed us that, ‘Hey, we’re going to be able to run on these guys and we’ve got to keep going.’ ”

Actually, the Badgers already knew they could run on Indiana. For one thing, everyone else has this season. For another, no one runs on Indiana like UW.

With White rolling up a career-best 205 yards, Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement each going over 100 and wide receiver Jared Abbrederis falling just short of that mark, the Badgers finished with 554 rushing yards and 676 total yards. Both figures rank second in school history. UW’s rushing total fell 10 yards short of the mark set last year — against Indiana.

This is a matchup made in heaven for UW and the Badgers took full advantage of it, running on 50 of their 65 plays. Even though the play-action pass was there all day, quarterback Joel Stave threw only 15 times because it was wet and windy and, well, that’s all that was needed.

“This is a fun team to quarterback,” Stave said. “Obviously, you like throwing the ball, but with the weather and taking what they’re giving you, (why throw it). ... When you’re averaging 7, 8 yards a carry, just keep gashing them.”

Actually, it was 11.1 yards per carry, another sign of UW’s rushing-fueled domination in this series. The Badgers beat the Hoosiers for the ninth consecutive season Saturday, with all but one of the scores lopsided.

In the past four years, however, backs such as White, Gordon, Montee Ball and John Clay have consistently overpowered Indiana’s defense and paced UW routs. The average score of the four meetings is 64-11. In those games, the Badgers have averaged 600.8 total yards and 447 rushing yards. They’ve scored 23 rushing touchdowns.

The Hoosiers showed up with one of the nation’s most explosive offenses Saturday, but its defense looked delightfully familiar to the Badgers. UW had seven rushing plays of 32 yards or longer in a game that showcased its outstanding downfield blocking and tremendous big-play capability.

White, who is finishing his understated but remarkable UW career with a flourish, was particularly effective. He topped his previous high for yards by 24 and his 93-yarder was the longest run in school history. In four games against Indiana, White rushed for 597 yards, six touchdowns and a 9.0 average per carry, all while splitting time at tailback.

“We’ve just had a lot of success against them,” White said. “The offensive line, everybody comes ready to play. We know their offense is able to score points, so we want to score points as an offense so we can take some pressure off our defense.”

The defense didn’t need it Saturday. Indiana had scored 28 or more points in 10 consecutive games, but UW held it to a field goal. Even that was a win for the UW defense because Indiana had a first-and-goal but had to settle for three points.

But it was UW’s offense that set the tone for the game by showing early that nothing had changed between the teams. After awhile, the Hoosiers started blitzing to stop the run, a gamble because, while it resulted in some stops at the line of scrimmage, it also left them vulnerable to big plays.

“They started doing run blitzes a little bit more,” White said. “If you’re able to pick those up correctly, you get big gains.”

UW always seems to do that against Indiana.

“We were confident in the game plan we had,” center Dan Voltz said. “We had a great week of practice and our coaches just put us in a really good spot to make big plays. We played well up front and it showed. ... When you play well against a defense like that, the results are going to be pretty good.”

And why it’s a shame Indiana is off the schedule.

Contact Tom Oates at or 608-252-6172.

  • Sports Columnist for the Wisconsin State Journal

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(6) comments


Let me get this right, Wisconsin plays patsies and cupcakes? Either you know nothi g about college football or you haven't taken a look at the schedule instead just blowing smoke out your butt. Arizona State is going to win the South Division of the PAC12, Wisconsin lost to the Sun Devils due to a bothched attempt to down the ball and then kick a chip shot FG for the win, BYU is the team nobody wants to play, just ask Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Texas, UCLA, the list goes on and on. They are at 7-3 with the 12th toughest schedule. The loss to UW was the worst in several years, as the Badgers dominated a very good BYU team. The Cougars have a 7-2 advantage over the combination of Texas, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma. I can get I to the vs PAC12 stats but the point has been made. Compare the non-conference schedule played by Mich, OSU, the Florida schools and you're going to quickly find that UW plays a superior schedule freer of cupcakes that other majors. I don't want facts to get in the way of your incredible stupidity, I've got to hand it to UW playing a very good non-conf team in November is gutsy.


Wisconsin has the 52nd toughest schedule in the nation. And in the next two weeks, that will get worse. Ohio State plays the 72nd toughest, by virtue of having played Wisconsin, and not vice versa. And next year it only gets worse. Name me one ranked team, outside of the opening game on Wisconsin's schedule next year. Come on, find one. Who do you guys want to be the next teams added to the BIg 10? How about UMAss, Oral Roberts, Wofford and Tennessee Tech? That way, you guys can stumble in to Camp Randall Stadium watch Wisconsin beat up on the cupcakes, and complain about how you dont get any respect. Face it, you dont get respect, and you dont deserve it. Obiously, you know nothing about football outside of Camp Randall. Try watching an SEC game for a change. And when you are done with that, try a vacation outside of the state. Maybe you want to see the ocean. That will put in rarified air with your Camp Randall goofballs,


What ?? Indiana is not a football rival ? Because UW can beat the snot out of them , they are a desired opponent ? Sports is about competition, hopefully 2 equal teams. This is not sporting. To pay to watch this is dumb. I did not ever waste my time watching it free on TV. It's like when they play UMass or Tennessee Tech. The circus is boring unless there is a little drama.


Hear, Hear. This year's Badger team probably deserves top-10 ranking at least, but won't get it because of all the puffballs on its schedule. They only way to fix that is schedule serious teams for non-conference games, since they won't see them in the 2014 Big Ten West division.


My God. If Wisconsin fans had any pride, they would be hoping and praying that Indiana comes off the schedule. Only Wisconsin fans could sit there watch their team beat up on another patsy, pat them selves on the back for having one fine football team and come away hoping that they could schedule more games against them. A good SEC, Pac 12 or Big 12 team? They would be doing all they could to strengthen their schedule. What is the problem Wisconsin fans have? Too many beers? Dont they realize that they are hurt by having teams like Indiana on their schedule?. Dont get me wrong, Wisconsin is a fine team. They may be underrated. But beating up on patsies is why they are underrated. Look at next year's schedule. After the opener against LSU, there is not one quality team. The Badgers will go undefeated after that initial game, and wont deserve national recognition because of the soft schedule. And people like Tom Oates will having you begging to bring back Oral Roberts, Wofford, and Cupcake U as annual rivals. Wisconsin fans and Oates should understand why the Badgers dont get respect, and be embarrassed at their desire to pack their schedule with more easy wins. Embarrassing

Maui Jim
Maui Jim

You said it all!!! And with strength of schedule along with records determining the top four teams to play for a national championship the UW will be looking at lesser bowls from now on until a certain someone in the athletic department sees the light.

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