12:00 PM ET, September 11, 2010
Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI
John Clay's two TDs power Wisconsin; David Gilreath suffers concussion
MADISON, Wis. -- John Clay gave Wisconsin's offense everything it needed. It wasn't nearly enough to satisfy the 11th-ranked Badgers.
Clay ran for 137 yards and two touchdowns, but Wisconsin's vaunted offense was sloppy for the second straight week in its 27-14 win over San Jose State on Saturday.
• Wisconsin has won 26 straight regular-season games out of conference (third-longest streak in the country) and won its 15th straight home opener.
• Wisconsin's only nonconference losses under Bret Bielema have come in bowl games.
• John Clay has rushed for 100-plus yards and a TD in eight straight games and has rushed for two-plus TDs in four straight games. The last time he didn't rush for 100-plus yards or a TD was Oct. 17 last year against Iowa.
• One concern for Wisconsin might be turnovers; it has committed two in each of its first two games.
-- ESPN Stats & Information
It was Clay's eighth straight 100-yard rushing game as the Badgers won their 15th consecutive home opener and improved to 13-0 in nonconference regular-season games under head coach Bret Bielema.
"We know we can play a lot better than that," Clay said.
They haven't yet.
Scott Tolzien was 15 of 22 for 191 yards with a touchdown, but had an interception and three fumbles against the Spartans.
"The great thing about it is you never want to be peaking early on in the season," he said. "Obviously we're not happy with where we're at."
Wisconsin built a 17-0 lead and could've been up as much as 31-0 before David Gilreath was hit and taken off the field in an ambulance early in the third quarter.
The senior took a punt in the third quarter and was hit almost immediately by Peyton Thompson. As Gilreath was being driven back, Dominique Hunsucker came in from behind, appearing to make incidental helmet-to-helmet contact.
Gilreath stayed down for about 10 minutes and didn't appear to move, but Bielema said Gilreath was talking and trying to get up after being knocked out for a little over a minute.
"When he left, they told us his feet were moving and his arms were moving, so that definitely gives you peace of mind right there," defensive end J.J. Watt said. "We had to play for him, you can't just stop a football game, so you've got to go out there and you've got to keep playing."
Clay did. The reigning Big Ten offensive player of the year scored another touchdown after Gilreath left and has 260 yards and four touchdowns so far this season.
"I think if 32 lays out he still gets 3 [yards]," Spartans coach Mike MacIntyre said. "He's a big man."
San Jose State (0-2) had a lot more success against the Badgers than in last week's 48-3 loss to No. 1 Alabama. Jordan La Secla went 20 of 26 for 228 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Wisconsin took the opening possession 77 yards in 10 plays, capped by Clay's 1-yard TD run, but the offense sputtered when freshman James White fumbled through the end zone on Wisconsin's next possession for a touchback. In the second quarter, Tolzien and center Peter Konz bumbled a snap on fourth-and-1 at the Spartans 4 and failed to convert and the sloppy play continued into the second half despite two field goals by Philip Welch.
The Spartans, meanwhile, kept improving. Their first touchdown this season came late in the third quarter on a terrific effort by Chandler Jones, who finished with 113 yards on eight catches.
Jones grabbed a short pass from La Secla and made four Wisconsin defenders miss, finishing the final 10 yards untouched after Niles Brinkley's desperate dive failed. After Clay scored his second touchdown from a yard out, La Secla led the Spartans to another touchdown with 5:45 left with a 12-yard TD pass to Noel Grigsby that made it 27-14.
San Jose State, which netted more than $1 million from the guaranteed games at Alabama and Wisconsin, has traveled more than 7,000 miles over the last eight days. MacIntyre said the experience of playing top teams is worth it, even though they lost senior Robbie Reed for the season to a serious knee injury.
Otherwise, the Spartans appeared to be having some fun, joining the crowd by bounding up and down during House of Pain's "Jump Around" before the start of the fourth quarter.
"We had watched a video of it and told our kids about the atmosphere and to enjoy the moment," the coach said. "They weren't hanging their heads. They were ready to play."
The Badgers just proved to be too much.
"We're happy with the win, we're 2-0, you can't be any better than 2-0, so we'll be happy with that, but I'm actually very disappointed," said Watt, who made six tackles, hurried the quarterback that resulted in an interception and blocked a field goal. "We have things to correct and we're going to come out next week better."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... John Clay ran for his second touchdown to give Wisconsin a 27-7 lead in the fourth quarter.
Gameball goes to... Clay. The big back led the Badgers' rushing attack with 137 yards and two scores.
Stat of the game... 13-0. The Badgers improve to 13-0 against non-conference foes under Bret Bielema.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||3-12||8-13|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||0-1|
|TD||10:03||John Clay 1 Yd Run (Philip Welch Kick)||0||7|
|TD||14:16||Lance Kendricks 14 Yd Pass From Scott Tolzien (Philip Welch Kick)||0||14|
|FG||00:01||Philip Welch 45 Yd||0||17|
|FG||08:11||Philip Welch 37 Yd||0||20|
|TD||00:47||Chandler Jones 37 Yd Pass From Jordan La Secla (Harrison Waid Kick)||7||20|
|TD||11:16||John Clay 1 Yd Run (Philip Welch Kick)||7||27|
|TD||05:45||Noel Grigsby 12 Yd Pass From Jordan La Secla (Harrison Waid Kick)||14||27|
Wisconsin's John Clay finishes with 137 yards today. Including last year's bowl game, he extends his streak of 100-yard rushing games to 8 dating back to last season. He also has at least 1 rush TD in each of those games.
ESPN Stats & Information