Melvin Gordon showed displeasure this past week towards his performance through two games this season for the Wisconsin football team.He is probably feeling much better after Saturday’s game.The redshirt junior’s historic day ended with 253 yards on 13 carries and five touchdowns as the Badgers (2-1) set an abundance of offensive records in a 68-17 rout of the Bowling Green Falcons (2-2) on Saturday Camp Randall Stadium.Tanner McEvoy started the scoring barrage for UW with a 24-yard touchdown run in the first quarter that would be only a precursor to what the Badgers’ rushing attack would do the rest of the game.However, it would take a quarter for the Badgers to really get going offensively. After Gordon lost a fumble for the first time in his career at the 11:41 mark of the first quarter, Bowling Green’s Fred Coppet rattled off a 35-yard touchdown run that tied the game at seven. The Badgers then responded on their very next drive with an 11-play, 70 yard drive that ended in Gordon’s first touchdown of the game that came on a two-yard run.Following a Bowling Green field goal that made it 14-10, the Badgers took just one offensive play to pull ahead 21-10 thanks to a 57-yard punt return from Kenzel Doe that set up a 34-yard touchdown pass from McEvoy to Sam Arneson.But the Falcons kept fighting and were only eight yards away from dropping the Badgers lead down to four at 21-17. Then third and goal, Wisconsin’s Lubern Figaro intercepted a pass from Bowling Green’s James Knapke that was tipped by Derek Landisch, and returned it 43 yards to the Wisconsin 43-yard line, ending the Bowling Green threat.Once the Badgers got the ball back after Figaro’s interception, the next four scoring drives for UW would end in Melvin Gordon touchdowns and Wisconsin would go on to score the next 44 points to blow open their lead.Three plays after the Figaro interception, Gordon scampered for fifty yards and added his second touchdown of the day that gave the Badgers a 27-10 lead with 11:18 remaining in the second quarter. The 50-yard run by Gordon put him over the 100-yard mark just 18 minutes and 42 seconds into the game.Wisconsin added to their total by scoring on their next drive, going 57 yards on 11 plays that once again ended with a Gordon touchdown run. This one was from three yards out and put Wisconsin in the driver’s seat at 34-10 with just over five minutes left until halftime. One final 21-yard rushing touchdown from Gordon, who showed off his elusiveness on the run, in the second quarter gave the Badgers a commanding 41-10 lead as they went into halftime.Gordon finished the first half with 179 yards on only eleven carries with four touchdowns. McEvoy did his own damage on the ground through the first two quarters, running for 90 yards on nine attempts.Coming out of the break, Gordon again wasted no time scoring his final touchdown of the game, which came on a 69-yard run on just the second play from scrimmage in the second half.The touchdown capped off Gordon’s career-day in his time at Wisconsin and gave him a total of 253 yards, which is a career-high, on only 13 carries to average 19.5 yards per rush.For Gordon, he was happy to be back on the field after a tough performance against Western Illinois and put to rest some of the doubt that had been flying around the potential Heisman-candidate.“I was really motivated,” Gordon said. “I had heard a lot of people saying ‘I can’t do this, I can’t do that, Melvin’s not this, Melvin’s not that, Melvin shouldn’t be considered with this guy, or be talked about with this guy’…That definitely motivated me to get out there and do what I needed to do.”Despite the criticism that Gordon had gone through during the first few weeks of the season, Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen was pleased to see Gordon persevere through it and have the performance that he did on Saturday.“The unselfishness of Melvin Gordon for the last three of weeks as we’ve gone through the first part of the season has been incredible,” Andersen said. “I’m so proud of the way he’s handled it. Today was his day. It was great to see him have the success.”Although it wasn’t just Gordon who found success on the ground for the Badgers as both McEvoy and Corey Clement also eclipsed the 100-yard mark.McEvoy finished the day with eleven carries and a career-high 158 yards to go along with two touchdowns, but struggled through the air, going 9-for-16 for 112 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Clement, who scored on back-to-back possessions after Gordon’s final touchdown, ended the day with 111 yards on 16 carries. Even Dare Ogunbowale, who just made the switch from defense to running back this week, had 94 yards which all came in the fourth quarter.The Badgers ended the day with a school-record 644 yards on the ground, which is the most rushing yards in modern-era Big Ten history. The 644-yard total broke the previous record of 573 which happened in both 1971 and 1975 by Michigan State and Michigan respectively. Added to the new school rushing record was a school-record for total offense (756) which broke the previous high of 705 that came against Indiana in 1999.With an all-around strong performance from the rushing attack, after struggling against Western Illinois two weeks ago, Clement saw Saturday’s performance as a great boost of confidence for the running backs and especially Gordon.“It think we all needed a confidence boost like that, coming off of the last game,” Clement said. “We didn’t really produce how we should as a Badger unit, but Melvin had an outstanding game. He hit the holes at 100 miles per hour, couldn’t be caught.”Coming into Saturday’s game, the Wisconsin defense knew they would be up against one of the fastest tempo offenses in the country in Bowling Green. In a win over Indiana last week, the Falcons ran over 100 plays throughout the game. Senior linebacker Derek Landisch, who led the Badgers with six tackles, three-and-a-half tackles for loss, and two sacks, knew that the defense was prepared for the up-tempo style of Bowling Green.“I think we were very well prepared,” Landisch said. “I don’t think there was a look that we saw out there that we haven’t seen during practice. Even some of the goofy tackle, split-wide formations, we saw that in practice. So we were very well prepared and I think for the most part we executed the game plan.”As the Badgers pick up their second win of the season and head into preparations for their final non-conference game of the season next Saturday against South Florida, McEvoy saw Saturday’s game as an overall quality win for UW.“It was a great team win,” McEvoy said. “Our defense was taking the ball away from them, but we had some giveaways and turnovers, but [the defense] go it back for us. Great special teams and obviously the rushing was a key today and that helps.”
Baseball season is my favorite season. The smell of the fresh-cut grass, the feeling of scalding-hot hard plastic seats, the sound of the pounding ball on leather, the taste of the salty sunflower seeds. But there’s one other thing baseball season brings — the horrific sight that is USC baseball. One thing is for sure: Hubbs and “potential head coach to be named” have a lot of veteran and young talent in their arsenal, and I look forward to the next few seasons. What happens when there’s a lot of talent on a losing team? Look to the person who paid for the “Lynn Swann — Fire Clay Helton” helicopter banner last semester. While I think Hubbs is a great coach, he just isn’t cutting it for USC. The Trojans have largely been a .500 or slightly below .500 team since the Mike Gillespie era (with the exception of 2015). That period encompasses three coaches. Hubbs is a great pitching coach. He had a fantastic 12-year tenure as Cal’s pitching coach, and he consistently produced pitching staffs with the lowest ERAs in the Pac-10. When he became the head coach at USC, that pitching knowledge and training ability didn’t translate, as USC’s team ERA barely went above average in the Pac-12 and even spent a couple years in dead last. I am really excited about two recruits in particular: starting pitcher Chandler Champlain and outfielder Preston Hartsell. In all seriousness, no pitcher should be judged by one start, especially his first start at the collegiate level. It’s just fun to poke fun at players like Champlain whose talent is undeniable. Out of high school, he was drafted to the MLB but declined to sign. He has a laundry list of awards to his name, and I have no doubt that he will mesh well with other Trojan starters like sophomore Kyle Hurt. Sam Arslanian is a sophomore writing about sports. His column, “Extra Innings,” runs Fridays. USC lost some pitching talent this year in Solomon Bates, who was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 2018 MLB Draft. But if young players are directed properly, they will couple well with the Trojans’ brick wall infield. But Trojan baseball hasn’t had a winning season since 2015, and that’s a sorry statistic. The fact that they have the 14th best recruiting class in the nation is baffling, but I guess the warm weather and historic record means a lot to these recruits. It’s entirely possible for Hartsell to fill in for the outfielders this year. He could even take some reps at designated hitter, if he can prove his batting ability at the collegiate level and become a true asset down the line for the Trojans. Hubbs is in the final year of his contract as head coach with the Trojans. While he has held the team steady, USC Athletics can’t be complacent with staying “average.” This school should be a dominant powerhouse for college baseball, and I don’t see that happening under the current management. USC could even consider hiring a new head coach while keeping Hubbs as a pitching coach. Champlain’s first start was rough, to say the least. In his start against Nebraska Omaha (who?), the rookie didn’t last an inning. Two-thirds of an inning, nine batters faced, three hits, three walks, a drilled batter and five earned runs. A 225 ERA is not necessarily “Cy Young” material but, hey, maybe there’s room for improvement? Perhaps that was a bit too hyperbolic. This team is not a bad baseball squad by any means — it has a lot of talent. And this year, the Trojans did some fantastic recruiting. USC football should learn from baseball head coach Dan Hubbs in that department. I feel like a broken record after repeating this throughout football season, but this team has an abundance of talent. It just needs to focus on bringing all the pieces together. If that happens under Hubbs this season, great. If Trojan baseball fans have to wait until a new skipper takes over at Dedeaux Field, fine. Hartsell hasn’t started in a game, although he did pinch hit in USC’s 11-0 romp on Saturday against Nebraska Omaha. While he reached base on a fielder’s choice, he plated another runner, earning his first RBI. Coming into USC, Hartsell was rated the best outfielder in California, boasting a .396 batting average with 110 RBIs. Right now, the outfield is occupied by some veteran players like juniors Blake Sabol and Matthew Acosta at left and center, respectively, while sophomore Jamal O’Guinn holds down the right side of the lawn.