Peavy, Clement power Wisconsin in rout of Akron
The Sports Xchange
MADISON — Running back Corey Clement rolled his left ankle and missed one half in No. 10 Wisconsin’s 54-10 rout against Akron, but the senior said he was being smart by sitting out.
Clement rushed for two scores and wide receiver Jazz Peavy caught two touchdown passes on Saturday to lead Wisconsin (2-0) in its home opener at Camp Randall Stadium.
Clement, who had 21 carries and 111 yards in the first half, suffered the injury in the second quarter. Clement, who tied a career mark with 21 carries for a second straight game, is 84 yards shy of 2,000 rushing yards for his career.
Clement insisted he would have returned to the game if the Zips (1-1) were in contention, but since the Badgers had control, he didn’t want to risk further injury.
“I really had to be mature about the situation,” Clement said. “I thought about being selfish and being greedy with how many more carries I do want in a game but I really had to sit back and let other guys take the load and I’ll be back for next week.”
Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said his staff was being overprotective with its standout back, who Chryst expects Clement to handle a bulk of the workload.
“He’s got to be the guy that you can put it on his shoulders,” Chryst said. “Certainly, Corey’s got to be that guy we can get him in the 20s at least on the carries.”
Wisconsin found success in the air and on the ground on Saturday, and also got a strong performance on defense.
The Badgers finished with 292 passing yards and 296 rushing yards against Akron, marking the first time a Wisconsin team collected 200-plus yards in both passing and rushing in a single game since the 2012 Rose Bowl. They had 296 passing yards and 212 rushing in a 45-38 loss to Oregon.
Quarterback Bart Houston was sharp under center for the Badgers. Houston, a senior and first-year starter, completed 15 of 22 passes for 231 yards, two touchdown passes and one interception through three-plus quarters. Peavy was on the receiving end of a 34-yard pass from Houston that extended the Badgers’ lead to 30-7 with 2:12 left in the second quarter.
Peavy, a junior, finished with seven catches for 100 yards and two scores, and senior wide receiver Robert Wheelwright had four receptions for 99 yards. Peavy also had one run for 23 yards.
The Badgers also got important first-half efforts on defense against the Zips (1-1). Senior defensive end Alec James sacked quarterback Thomas Woodson in the end zone for a safety late in the first quarter. Senior safety Leo Musso leaped high to snatch an interception on Akron’s 9-yard line in the second.
The Zips finally got on the board late in the first half when senior wide receiver JoJo Natson ran 55 yards for a score on a punt return with 3:12 to go in the second quarter. The score off a punt return was the first for Akron since 2004.
Akron coach Terry Bowden said he didn’t expect a letdown from a Wisconsin team that was fresh off a statement win seven days earlier, when it rallied to a 16-14 win against then-No. 5 LSU at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
“I don’t think LSU getting beat by them was a fluke last week,” Bowden said. “Having coached at Auburn, you have to be a physical team to whip LSU. We couldn’t match up physically withWisconsin. Our offense couldn’t keep their offense off the field and our defense couldn’t keep them off the field.”
Aside from Natson’s 44-yard receiving effort that led to Akron’s only touchdown, another bright spot in the game for the Zips (1-1) was sophomore kicker Tom O’Leary, who booted a 32-yard field goal.
Woodson completed 9 of 19 passes for 108 yards and one interception for Akron, as theBadgers’ defense only allowed 224 total yards of offense. The Badgers defense sacked Woodson three times and didn’t allow a touchdown.
Junior linebacker T.J. Watt was one of the anchors on the Badgers defense, with three tackles and one sack.
Chryst said he was pleased with his team’s composure, especially considering the additional buzz created with the win against LSU.
“We’ve got to focus on ourselves and maximize each opportunity,” Chryst said. “That’s easier said than done to ignore that outside noise.”
BADGER BITS: Wisconsin posted its 21st consecutive win in a home opener. The Badgers won their home opener each season since a 43-7 loss to Colorado in 1995. ... Sophomore linebacker T.J. Edwards, a starter last season who led the Badgers with 84 tackles, returned to the lineup - at inside linebacker - after sitting out camp with a broken left foot. Edwards suffered the injury during summer workouts. ... Wisconsin snapped Akron’s seven-game winning streak, which dated to last season. ... Attendance for the Badgers’ 2016 home opener was 77,331.
Akron........................ 0 10 0 0 — 10
Wisconsin.................. 9 21 10 14 — 54
WIS—C.Clement 4 yard rush (Gaglianone kick), 8:05.
WIS—Al.James blocked punt o.b. in end zone, 2:28.
WIS—C.Clement 1 yard rush (Gaglianone kick), 13:45.
WIS—J.Peavy 13 yard pass from Ba.Houston (Gaglianone kick), 4:58.
AKR—Natson 55 yard punt return (O’Leary kick), 3:12.
WIS—J.Peavy 34 yard pass from Ba.Houston (Gaglianone kick), 2:10.
AKR—O’Leary 32 yard field goal, 0:00.
WIS—Gaglianone 33 yard field goal, 6:35.
WIS—Ingold 6 yard pass from Hornibrook (Gaglianone kick), 1:07.
WIS—Ramesh 1 yard rush (Gaglianone kick), 11:17.
WIS—B.Shaw 35 yard rush (Gaglianone kick), 7:54.
First Downs............................ 10 32
Rushes-Yards....................... 21-88 55-294
Passing................................. 136 292
Sacked-Yds Lost................... 4-20 1-6
Comp-Att-Int....................... 14-25-1 20-27-0
Return Yards......................... 101 81
Punts................................. 6-41.2 2-37.5
Fumbles-Lost......................... 2-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards...................... 8-66 3-40
Time of Possession................ 19:08 40:52
RUSHING-AKR, W.Ball 7-71, Mn.Morgan 3-25, DJ.Jones 4-6, Edwards Jr. 2-3, Ta.Chapman 2-(minus 4), T.Woodson 3-(minus 13). WIS, C.Clement 21-111, B.Shaw 9-74, Deal 12-58, J.Peavy 1-23, Ogunbowale 4-18, Ramesh 4-12, Ingold 2-4, Ba.Houston 2-(minus 6).
PASSING-AKR, T.Woodson 9-19-1-108, Ta.Chapman 5-6-0-28. WIS, Ba.Houston 15-22-0-231, Hornibrook 5-5-0-61.
RECEIVING-AKR, An.Young 4-32, Natson 3-44, J.Lane 3-43, Kw.Smith 1-10, Ty.Goodman 1-3, Au.Wolf 1-3, W.Ball 1-1. WIS, J.Peavy 7-100, Wheelwright 4-99, AJ.Taylor 2-39, Fumagalli 2-16, G.Rushing 2-14, Q.Cephus 1-10, Steffes 1-8, Ingold 1-6.