Tennessee Tech falls 48-0 to No. 21 Wisconsin
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Everywhere he turned, Darian Stone had a red jersey in his face. Tennessee Tech’s dual-threat quarterback never got a breather on a warm, sticky afternoon at Camp Randall Stadium.
No FCS stunner here: No. 21 Wisconsin ran over the lower-division Golden Eagles on offense and overpowered them on defense in a 48-0 victory Saturday.
“Where was the pressure coming from? It seemed like it was from everywhere,” Stone said. “They are just big dudes and they’re hard to block. We weren’t used to it.”
Tennessee Tech made it past the 50 only once. Stone rarely had time to make any plays, going 8 of 19 passing for 69 yards, and carrying seven times for 16 yards.
Dangerous sophomore Ladarius Vanlier, who had a 93-yard punt return for a TD last week against NAIA school Cumberland, was never a factor Saturday on special teams.
The early-season tuneup for Wisconsin went about as well as could be expected for first-year coach Gary Andersen, who’s breaking in a new 3-4 defense. It had no problems against the Golden Eagles (1-1), whose spread offense got outmuscled by the bigger Badgers (2-0).
Joel Stave was 24 of 29 for 219 yards with three touchdowns and an interception, while defensive back Darius Hillary set the tone early by forcing a fumble that set up the game’s first score.
Tennessee Tech coach Watson Brown could have used a few players from younger brother Mack Brown’s team at Texas.
“They had offensive and defensive dominance up front,” Watson Brown said. “The line of scrimmage was dominating all day long. The turnover didn’t help. There were like eight more scores after that.”
It only felt like eight; it was actually just six more TDs.
The brightest spot for Tennessee Tech may have been punter Chad Zinchini, who had a career-best 70-yard boot in the third quarter. That superseded a 64-yard punt earlier in the day for Zinchini, a senior who last year set the school record by averaging nearly 45 yards a punt.
Didn’t matter to the Badgers, who moved the ball at will.
Three backs went over 100 yards for the second straight game. Melvin Gordon had 140 yards rushing in the first half on nine carries — outgaining Tennessee Tech in total offense (83) at halftime alone.
Stave had a stretch of 13 straight completions. He was 10 of 10 during a late drive in the first half during which the Badgers decided to brush up on their two-minute offense, ending with a 6-yard scoring pass to Brian Wozniak for a 28-0 lead at the half.
James White got in on the fun with a 2-yard touchdown run at 9:13 of the third. Kyle French’s extra-point attempt bounced off the right upright — one of the few flubs on the day for Wisconsin — to keep the score at 34-0.
White finished with 109 yards on 22 carries. Freshman Corey Clement picked up the load the rest of the second half, gaining 149 yards rushing on 13 carries and two touchdowns. The second score came on a 75-yard run down the left sideline that put Wisconsin up by seven touchdowns late in the game.
The student section began clearing out early in the fourth quarter, content with another Badger blowout. Wisconsin held huge edges in total offense (606-113) and first downs (29-6).
Tennessee Tech knew things might not go well on Saturday. At least long snapper Ben Viaene, from Hortonville, Wis., got to return to his home state.
“It was a great experience coming back here, just having a big crowd supporting me,” he said. “That was the best thing, seeing all of the TTU purple shirts in the crowd.”
Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP