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McEvoy helps No. 24 Wisconsin put away Troy

Wisconsin Badgers safety Tanner McEvoy (3) returns an interception during the second quarter against the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium. (Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)

The Sports Xchange

MADISON — Wide receiver Tanner McEvoy is making an impact no matter the position for No. 24 Wisconsin.

McEvoy took a direct shotgun snap in Wildcat formation and had a third-quarter touchdown run to help Wisconsin clinch a 28-3 win against Troy on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium.

One week after recording an interception and a reception in Wisconsin’s shutout of Miami (Ohio), McEvoy showcased his versatility again -- shaking off defenders and bolting 32 yards into the end zone. The TD extended Wisconsin’s lead to 21-3 with 7:16 left in the third quarter.

McEvoy, a redshirt senior, finished with two carries for 41 yards and had four tackles playing free safety.

Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said McEvoy’s willingness to step in when needed has been beneficial.

“I thought that his touchdown run was as much a competitive nature in him as it was physical,” Chryst said. “We haven’t had him very involved in the throw game, but he is still able to give us something offensively, and certainly did defensively. We appreciate his approach to it.”

Linebacker Chris Orr was one of several players who stepped up to lead the Badgers’ defense, which held its opponent to zero touchdowns for the second straight game. Orr replaced Leon Jacobs at inside linebacker and had a game-high 14 tackles (11 solo) in three quarters.

Troy quarterback Brandon Silvers completed 23 of 34 passes for 174 yards and was sacked three times. Silvers lost his helmet on a hit by Leon Jacobs late in the first quarter, and Jacobs was ejected for targeting.

Wisconsin was penalized with two targeting violations. Referee Jeffrey Servinski said the targeting fouls rendered the quarterback and wide receiver defenseless.

“We have two components of targeting in NCAA football: Using the crown of the helmet (and) targeting a defenseless player,” Servinski told a pool reporter. “So, with a quarterback, any forcible contact to the head or neck area is targeting.”

Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave completed 13 of 17 passes for 202 yards, passed for one TD and rushed for another as the Badgers secured their second straight home victory.

Running backs Taiwan Deal and Dare Ogunbowale made the most of their reps on the ground in the absence of standout Corey Clement, who missed a second straight game with a groin injury and could be held out until the Badgers’ Big Ten Conference home opener on Oct. 3 against Iowa.

Deal and Ogunbowale combined for 30 carries and 161 yards, and Ogunbowale rushed for a first-quarter score as Wisconsin won the first meeting between the schools.

Stave looked sharp during a two-minute drill to close the first half, throwing a pair of passes to wide receiver Alex Erickson and scrambling four yards for a score as Wisconsin took a 14-3 lead into halftime. The seven-play, 90-yard drive took 2 minutes, 38 seconds off the clock and included a 45-yard pass to Erickson.

Stave said he sees room for improvement in many areas, especially in third-down situations. Wisconsin was 3 of 10 against Troy.

“There were a couple plays early in the game where we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be in the passing game,” he said. “I think that’s the area where we can continue to detail things and continue to improve.”

With the Trojans marching in the third quarter, Wisconsin outside linebacker Joe Schobert sacked Silvers for an 8-yard loss and forced a fumble that was scooped up by Wisconsin strong safety Michael Caputo on Troy’s 33-yard line. That play thwarted Troy’s 10-play, 56-yard drive.

The Trojans’ only points came from a 32-yard field goal from kicker Ryan Kay with 5:13 left in the first quarter.

First-year Troy coach Neal Brown said he was disappointed the Trojans didn’t capitalize on numerous scoring opportunities, considering their up-tempo, three-step offense was challenging for the Badgers. Troy finished with 255 yards -- but just 81 rushing.

“We were right there, 21-3, with some opportunities to get back in the game and put a little pressure on Wisconsin,” Brown said. “They were really solid on defense. This is the best game we’ve played offensively of the three games. We did a good job on third down; we were able to keep the ball away (from Wisconsin).”

BADGER BITS: Wisconsin RG Micah Kapoi got his first career start. Kapoi, a redshirt freshman, replaced Walker Williams, who sustained an ankle injury in the Badgers’ win against Miami (Ohio). ... Wisconsin CB Derek Tindal was assessed a targeting penalty on a tackle to WR Ismail Saleem and was ejected at the end of the third quarter. It was the Badgers’ second targeting violation of the game. ... Wisconsin earned its 34th consecutive home victory, which is the eighth-longest streak in NCAA history. The winning streak dates to 2003.