Looking back at Wisconsin-IU, looking ahead to IU-North Dakota State

Busy, busy weekend:

Here’s my game story and notebook from Saturday’s Wisconsin rout of IU, and here’s my preview for tonight’s IU-North Dakota State basketball game.

More server issues at Terre Haute, perhaps, so here’s what I wrote for them from the Wisconsin-IU game:

By Andy Proffet

Tribune-Star correspondent

BLOOMINGTON — The biggest game at Memorial Stadium in years looked dishearteningly familiar to Indiana fans.

Wisconsin ran roughshod over the Hoosiers, setting a school record for rushing yards and spoiling IU’s longshot hopes at a Big Ten title game appearance with a 62-14 victory on Saturday.

Montee Ball (198 yards on 27 carries, with three TDs) and James White (14 carries for 163 yards and two scores) each had big days for the Badgers (7-3, 4-2 Big Ten), who finished with 564 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.

The Badgers clinched a second consecutive Big Ten Championship Game appearance with the win. The Leaders Division’s top two teams, Ohio State and Penn State, are ineligible for postseason play.

“We will celebrate this one,” Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said. “I thought it was a great statement game.”

The Hoosiers (4-6, 2-4) were trying to keep their chances at that title game berth alive. But their defense couldn’t stop Wisconsin’s running game and the offense could never get in rhythm.

“They outworked us. They were a little more physical. They played better than we did today,” IU linebacker David Cooper said.

Wisconsin wasted little time establishing the run. The Badgers had 176 yards on the ground in the first quarter and led 17-0 early in the second quarter.

IU’s defense forced three straight punts after that and cut into Wisconsin’s lead when Cam Coffman threw a six-yard TD pass to Ted Bolser.

But on third-and-16 at the Wisconsin 31, White broke loose for a 69-yard TD run to put the Badgers ahead 24-7 with 13 seconds left in the first half.

“That was one of those plays I thought we took bad angles,” Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said. He noted that the Hoosiers were planning to take a timeout after the expected third-down run, with hopes of blocking a punt or at least getting the ball back with decent field position.

The Hoosiers had a distinct disadvantage in field position the entire game. Their best starting position was their own 39, and that drive ended in a lost fumble by Nate Sudfeld.

The freshman had come in for Cam Coffman after Coffman started 6-of-11 for 30 yards.

“We obviously didn’t get in rhythm,” Coffman said. “They were a good defense but we should be able to move the ball against anybody and we just couldn’t get into a rhythm.”

Coffman came back in after Sudfeld’s turnover and finished 25-of-46 for 233 yards, two TDs and two INTs.

Wilson said he felt both quarterbacks “looked a little hyper” in warmups.

“We did not try to make this game bigger than it was,” Wilson said. But senior center Will Matte conceded that the storylines entering the game could have affected players’ thought processes.

Coffman said he felt ready, “but obviously I didn’t play too well.”

“We’ve still got two huge games (at Penn State and at Purdue),” Coffman said. “If we win both of those we can go to a bowl.”

First, though, the Hoosiers have to make sure Saturday’s result isn’t a sign of regression.

“We’ve made some strides, but we weren’t very good today,” Wilson said. “There’s a lot to play for and every game we talk about getting better.

“I’m not saying we stepped backwards (today), but you can’t let a team run it down your throat.”

The Badgers almost had three 100-yard rushers, as Melvin Gordon finished with 96 yards and a score on eight carries. Quarterback Curt Phillips, making his first career start, was 4-of-7 for 41 yards and added 68 yards on seven carries.

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