Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Davis looks to extend 1,000-yard rushing streak

Over the past decade of Wisconsin football, UW’s rushing attack has been a dominant force and absolutely crucial to its success. In 1993, Brent Moss began the tradition of the Badgers’ offense, boasting a 1,000-yard rusher. Now, Anthony Davis needs just 33 yards Saturday against No. 9 Iowa to add a tenth consecutive season to the incredible string.

But 33 yards may not come as easily as it appears.

The Badgers (6-3, 1-3 Big Ten) head to Iowa City to face a stingy Hawkeye (8-1, 5-0 Big Ten) defense that is ranked second nationally in rushing defense, allowing just 62.3 yards per game.


If Davis surpasses the 1,000-yard mark, UW would have the second longest streak of consecutive seasons with 1,000-yard rushers in Division I history. Currently, North Carolina (12 seasons) and Southern California (10 seasons) have longer streaks.

Many players in the UW football program have taken great pride in producing an immaculate rushing attack and adding to the streak. Senior right tackle Jason Jowers has been an intricate piece of the evolving tradition.

“[The streak] is something that we always think about,” Jowers said. “It’s something that we go into the season wanting to get, and so we say, ‘We have nine seasons with a 1,000 yard rushers, and we want 10.’ And after the 10th, next year they’ll want the 11th. It’s something that will never change here at Wisconsin as long as we keep recruiting good offensive linemen and good running backs.”

Quarterback Brooks Bollinger praised the coaching staff that has helped develop one of the most impressive records in the nation.

“I think it’s a tribute to a lot of people. First of all, the running backs that we’ve had here and the offensive line we’ve had here,” Bollinger said. “[Offensive line] coach [Jim] Huber, [offensive coordinator Brian] White, the offensive coaches are doing a tremendous job. I think it’s so important for a football team to be able to establish the run in football games to give themselves a better chance to win, and I think it’s been critical to the success of this program.”

Six running backs have been involved in the record. Brent Moss, Terrell Fletcher, Carl McCullough and Michael Bennett each had one season over 1,000 yards, while Ron Dayne had four. With 1,000 yards this season, Davis would join Dayne as the only UW back to post 1,000-yard seasons each of his first two years in the program.

After initially rushing the ball sluggishly, Wisconsin has averaged 213.2 yards rushing per contest during the past five games. Last week, the Badgers rushed for a season-high 313 yards against Michigan State. Davis rumbled for 170 yards, while Dwayne Smith added 110. Head coach Barry Alvarez said the difference might be attributed to the offensive line controlling the tempo of the game and the coaching staff keeping the backs fresh.

“I really think Anthony is running very, very hard and seeing things very well. And I think keeping him fresh helps with Dwayne in there,” Alvarez said. “Really, Dwayne’s done a nice job of moving the pile and not putting us in bad positions. But I think our [offensive] line is really playing well and the backs are seeing things pretty well.”

While the Iowa run defense has been quite impressive this season, the Hawkeyes have not fared as well defending the pass. Iowa’s pass defense has allowed 301.1 yards per game, last in the Big Ten.

Bollinger said he expects the passing game to open up.

“I think that they’re [a] well-coached football team, and they know that we want to establish the run,” Bollinger said. “They know that we’re a pretty solid team at running the football, so they’re going to try to stop the run. We’re going to have to be balanced and just attack them in different ways.

“They have to, at some point, concentrate more on stopping the run and give you a little something in the passing game,” Bollinger added.

Jowers said productivity in the rushing attack will also provide added protection for Bollinger.

“When we get that run going well, they can’t just go out and try and rush the pass every time,” Jowers said. “They have to be conscious of what we’re going to do with the running game. I think that was a big part of Brooks not taking as many licks [against Michigan State].”

Bollinger said he is anticipating a great matchup Saturday and is looking forward to the chance to play spoiler to Iowa’s hopes at winning the Big Ten.

“It’s a huge game for us and a fun one to play in. Now they’re at the top of the league, right up there, and we’re kind of down a little bit as far as record goes, so it’s kind of a fun role to be in to go down there and try and knock off one of the top teams in the conference.

Although the offensive line is conscious of the record, Jowers said it will not settle for extending the streak, because it will take more to beat Iowa.

“We’ve got to get him 33 yards, but to be able to play well against Iowa, he needs a lot more than that, and that’s what we want to go out and do,” Jowers said.

“They’re possibly our biggest challenge for running the ball, but it’s one that we want, too, and especially with A.D. being just 33 yards from the record for the 1,000 yards for the tenth straight year. We want that,” Jowers said.

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