Top 25 preview: Tenn. Tech at Wisconsin

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Tennessee Tech at Wisconsin

KICKOFF: Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
GAMEDATE: 9/7/13
SITE: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wis.
TV: Big Ten Network
SERIES: First meeting
AP RANKINGS: Tennessee Tech unranked, Wisconsin No. 21.

Wisconsin blasted Massachusetts 45-0 to get the Gary Andersen era off on the right footing. The formula was more of the same -- power-running and rugged defense -- for the Badgers, who won't expect a stiff test from Tennessee Tech. However, Wisconsin won't soon forget the dogfight it survived with Northern Iowa to take a 26-21 victory lat season.

Wisconsin's 45-0 win over UMass followed a sloppy first half, but the Badgers responded with a strong showing down the stretch to hand coach Gary Andersen his first win at UW.
"It was sort of special to me and will be forever," Andersen said.
Andersen handed out praise to several to players after the Badgers won their 16th straight season opener. Quarterback Joel Stave got the start, the seventh of his career. He threw for 197 yards, with two touchdowns and ran for another touchdown. Wide receiver Jared Abbrederis had two catches for 122 yards, a 65-yard touchdown catch and a 57-yard TD reception.
James White rushed for 143 yards, Melvin Gordon added 144 yards and true freshmen Corey Clement tallied 101 yards. Andersen said the Badgers are trying to become more diversified on offense.
"I was really pleased with the rotation of the offense line, and it went well and the tight ends did a nice job of blocking," Andersen said. "We're looking to get the tight ends more involved in the throw game as we move forward and excited about that opportunity. Explosive offense at times, definitely worth noting."
The Badgers get another tune-up game this week, with FCS opponent Tennessee Tech coming to Madison. The strong play of the FCS in pulling off upsets over BCS schools in Week 1 opened up some eyes.
"It's a once in a lifetime for these kids," he said. "They're going to walk into this stadium one time, and they're always going to be able to say they played at Camp Randall. What better for them to say they came into Camp Randall and played well and won."
The UW defense must guard against letting Tennessee Tech dual-threat quarterback Darian Stone from having a big game. After pitching a shutout against lowly UMass, the Badgers have a tougher test in Week 2.
"He's a dual-threat quarterback and he runs the ball," Andersen said of Stone. "They run the ball with the option threat. They run the ball with the true quarterback run game, whether it's the power or the rat play or the o-zone, whatever you want to call it, it's called a quarterback run."
Wisconsin converted eight of 11 third-down attempts for its highest percentage since 2007. The Badgers had success on both sides, throwing for at least 200 yards and rushing for 300-plus yards in the same game for the first time since 2011. The running game already has three players with at least 100 yards.

--QB Joel Stave was named the starter for the opener, winning a heated battle. He started for the seventh time in his career, throwing for 197 yards and two touchdowns in the opener. Stave is the future of the program, now getting named a starter for the last two coaches, if only he can stay healthy.
--RB Melvin Gordon built off a strong showing in the last two games of the 2012 season, rushing for 144 yards in Week 1. A fast and elusive back, Gordon might eventually start taking over the majority of the carries.
--RB James White averaged 13.0 yards per carry in the opener, the best by any FBS player in Week 1. White's career average per carry is now 6.3 yards, ranking him second among active FBS running backs.

Golden Eagles
--QB Darian Stone -- He leads the team in passing and rushing entering the game after guiding the Golden Eagles to a 63-7 victory over Cumberland, an NAIA team, last week. Stone is a dual-threat quarterback and the engine of the entire offense.