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August 31, 2013

RBs pound the rock against UMass

MADISON, Wis. - There's a new coaching staff in town, but the Wisconsin Badgers are keeping a lot of things the same under Gary Andersen. In fact, you might not have guessed that a new staff was running the show if you looked at the box score from Wisconsin's 45-0 win over UMass on Saturday afternoon.

Running backs James White, Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement all rushed for at least 100 yards against the Minutemen, racking up a total of 388 rushing yards on 40 carries. Gordon and White combined for 287 net yards on just 24 carries, and Andersen said he sees a lot of similarities between the two players.

"As much as they were different six, seven months ago, I think they've become more of the same," Andersen said. "They both have good speed, good vision. They're physical guys when they need to be. I was proud of them today."

White credited the team's offensive line for opening up running lanes and holding off UMass' defense. The Badgers shuffled a lot of players in and out of the line during the game, but White said the different personnel wasn't a problem on Saturday afternoon.

"We have a great offensive line," White said. "We have a lot of confidence in them. There's a lot of change this year, but those guys work hard every day at practice, so we have the utmost confidence in them. They get the job done each and every week."

As for Clement, Andersen said it was good to see the true freshman from Glassboro, N.J., run well and score a touchdown in his first collegiate game.

"He's one of those guys [where] you think you made a nice play on defense, and he hops up with a three, four-yard gain," Andersen said.

Clement said scoring his first college touchdown takes a lot of weight off his shoulders.

"As a freshman you always want to make a statement as soon as you get to touch the rock," Clement said. "It was actually the best moment I've ever felt. I'm used to about 1,000 fans at a game, but to see the big sea of red once I entered the end zone, it was just crazy. Everybody was cheering and all I could do was smile."

Andersen said Clement will have to work on his pass-blocking if he wants to see more of the field when the games are a little closer. But if Clement, Gordon and White keep running the way they did on Saturday, Andersen and the rest of the Badgers will have a lot more to smile about as the season goes along.

For more Wisconsin Badgers news, notes and discussion, follow John on Twitter.

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