Arizona State aware of Wisconsin’s potent rushing attack

Sep 12, 2013, 8:29 PM | Updated: 8:37 pm

TEMPE, Ariz. — The numbers are impressive: 780 total rushing yards, 390 rushing yards per game and a trio of 100-yard rushers in each of the first two games.

The Wisconsin Badgers have the second-best ground game in the country, and it’s headed this way.

“I see that,” senior associate head coach and co-defensive coordinator Paul Randolph said after examining the film. “I see a team that’s committed to their way of doing things, which is running the football and play-action pass. They’re the same mold that they’ve been…physical, getting after people up front, knocking people off the ball and running the football downhill. They’re doing a really good job of it so far, irregardless of who their opponents are.”

In the season opener, Wisconsin carved up UMass, averaging 8.9 yards per carry. In Week 2, they sliced Tennessee Tech to the tune of 7.6 yards per touch.

“They’re executing at a high level,” Randolph said.

So, how does one go about defending a team like that, a team that other than Oregon has no equal, at least this early in the season?

“You can’t load up the box,” Randolph said. “That’s one thing you can’t do because their passing game—they have a really good passing game. The biggest thing is just fundamentally knowing what your keys are, who you’re keying for run-pass and making sure your eyes are planted firmly on those guys.”

Wisconsin, Big Ten champions the past three seasons, is undefeated over its last 26 games when totaling more than 230 yards on the ground.

Randolph, though, doesn’t have a number in mind that his defense must hit to have a chance to win. His goal is much simpler.

“Not to give up a cheap one. Not to give up big plays…not to give up a one-play touchdown run. That’s the biggest thing,” he said. “We’ve got to make them fight and strain for every single (yard).”

For all of its success a year ago, ASU struggled stopping the run, giving up 182.9 yards per game. That number ranked 10th in the Pac-12 and 81st nationally.

“Coach (Todd) Graham talks all the time about what you put emphasis on is what you get,” Randolph said. “We’ve put an emphasis on being a better run defense. That all starts mentally first of all, having a hard-edge mentality and attack and physically dominate the line of scrimmage. And then it has to do with fundamentals, and I think our guys have truly bought into being better technicians upfront. You have to be that to defend the run well.”

Their first big test awaits Saturday.

Penguin Air

Arizona State Football

(AP Photo/Ralph Freso)...
Arizona Sports

Pac-12 exploring all expansion options with USC, UCLA heading to Big Ten

The Pac-12 is looking into expansion following the decisions from USC and UCLA on Thursday to head to the Big Ten as early as 2024.
3 days ago
Basketballs are rolled off the court during the NCAAB game at McKale Center on January 03, 2022 in ...
Arizona Sports

Arizona ‘extremely disappointed’ in USC, UCLA leaving Pac-12 for Big Ten

The Arizona Wildcats broke their silence Friday regarding USC's and UCLA's plans to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten as early as 2024.
3 days ago
UCLA plays Oregon during a Pac-12 NCAA college football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., ...
Arizona Sports

UCLA, USC to leave Pac-12 for Big Ten in 2024

UCLA and USC will be leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten, beginning in the 2024-25 season, the two schools confirmed on Thursday evening.
4 days ago
Defensive back Jordan Clark #1 of the Arizona State Sun Devils celebrates with the Territorial Cup ...
Nikash Nath

Kyle Soelle, Jordan Clark ready to lead new faces for ASU football

ASU junior CB Jordan Clark and senior captain LB Kyle Soelle are expected to lead a Sun Devils defensive that'll have many new faces in 2022.
10 days ago
Arizona State Sun Devils offensive lineman LaDarius Henderson (77) lines up during the college foot...
Nikash Nath

Arizona State OL LaDarius Henderson talks new culture amid low expectations

OL LaDarius Henderson has been with ASU since 2019 and is no stranger to experiencing personnel and cultural changes within the program.
19 days ago
Head coach Herm Edwards of the Arizona State Sun Devils reacts after the loss to the Utah Utes at R...
Kellan Olson

SunDevilSource’s Karpman: Scathing opinion on ASU football unsurprising

A scathing take about ASU football from an anonymous opposing coach became the topic of conversation around the state of the program.
19 days ago
Arizona State aware of Wisconsin’s potent rushing attack