User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto Racing
Horses
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Badgers QB Stave benefiting from RBs

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Having the best seat in the house to watch Wisconsin's three running backs weave their way to the end zone, quarterback Joel Stave can't help but acknowledge how Melvin Gordon, James White and Corey Clement have eased some of the offense's burden.

Advertisement
Stave also knows it's hard to beat teams when the passing game is struggling - especially on the road against a defense like that of No. 4 Ohio State, the Badgers' opponent Saturday night.

``They're talented, physical and good athletes,'' Stave said. ``We're going to have to play good if we want to beat them and prepare well, too.''

Wisconsin (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten) is tops in the conference and third in the nation with 349.8 rushing yards through its first four games; numbers generated thanks to Gordon, who has rushed for at least 140 rushing yards in every game this season and leads the nation with 624 yards and an 11.8 per carry average.

The passing game has been a different story. Wisconsin ranks 90th in the country in passing offense (198.0 yards per game) and Stave has failed to throw for more than 220 yards in his four starts, surprising numbers considering the Badgers have given up only three sacks through four games.

``We need to improve in every aspect of our play,'' offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig said. ``(We need) more pass completions, more consistency, repetitive accuracy needs to improve. He's doing a lot of things well but he needs to improve.''

Winning a fall camp quarterback competition against sixth-year senior Curt Phillips, Stave at times has played better than a sophomore quarterback with only 10 career starts. He has a 202.9 passing efficiency in the red zone, going 14 for 17 for 87 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions this season, and Wisconsin is 8-2 in games he's started.

But at times he looks his age, failing to throw a touchdown pass in Wisconsin's 41-10 conference-opening win against Purdue and struggling to move the offense consistently.

And with three of Wisconsin's offensive stars - tight end Jacob Pedersen and receivers Jeff Duckworth and Kenzel Doe - questionable for this weekend, Stave is expecting the Buckeyes' defense to load the box to try and slow the Badgers' rushing attack.

``With how successful the running game has been, I can see why teams would want to do that,'' Stave said. ``If they're going to bring safeties down and we have a chance to throw it over the top, that's what you want as a quarterback is an opportunity to throw the deep ball and make the big play.''

The deep ball has been missing from Stave's arsenal over the last two weeks. Excluding screen passes, Wisconsin has completed only two passes over 25 yards while misfiring on several big-play opportunities; missed chances Stave has spent the better part of this week's prep work trying to correct.

``I just have to make sure my feet are right,'' Stave said. ``We worked on that some to make sure your feet are in the right position to make every throw you need to make.''

Ohio State linebacker Curtis Grant said the Buckeyes need to bring pressure on Stave, whatever the numbers might show.

``If he gets time back there, he'll make a play,'' Grant said. ``Us as a defense, we have to get some pressure on them and stop the run.''

While Stave has drawn a lot of ire for his three interceptions through four games and inconsistency moving the offense, coach Gary Andersen said part of the blame was on the Badgers' receivers for not running the right routes with the right spacing or the right timing.

``No one wants to talk about that,'' Andersen said. ``They want to talk about how the quarterback threw a pick. There's things that go into it that many times are missed. The offensive line, we want to get better. We want to run better routes, cleaner routes, crisper routes. We want to make sure we put them in a position, as coaches, to be able to execute.

``Is the throwing game a concern? Yes. Is it alarming? I would say no, but it's a concern, and we want to get better because great running teams, if they have the ability to get those safeties to back off just a little bit, it really helps.''

While Saturday will be just his 11th start, Stave does have road game experience in hostile environments. He led Wisconsin to a 27-10 second-half lead at Nebraska last season and threw for 120 yards on Wisconsin's final two drives at Arizona State, putting the Badgers in position to kick a game-tying field goal before the game's controversial ending.

``I don't know if we're trying to prove anything to anyone except ourselves,'' said Stave. ``We know we can be a balanced offense and we can throw the ball and run the ball. As long as we're doing that, we're happy.''

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Lawrence: 2014 MWC Preview
Edwards: Top 20 QB Changes
News: LVH posts Conference Odds
FSU, Miami picked to win ACC divisions
Texas QB Ash cleared to practice
Gophers All-American McNamara dies
Big 12 assigns 1st female official
Petrino back for Louisville's ACC debut
A&M DL Stansbury leaves; DB Davis arrested
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
2013 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1921
Joe Nelson + 1446
Bruce Marshall + 1350
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Chip Chirimbes + 200
The SportsBoss + 200
Michael Black + 100
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Joe Nelson 60 %
Doc's Sports 57 %
Joe Williams 57 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1312
Brian Edwards + 580
James Manos + 443
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1283
Jimmy Boyd + 966
James Manos + 756
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Mike Rose + 1100
Doc's Sports + 1090
Joe Nelson + 940
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!