MADISON, Wis. -- Quarterback Joel Stave didn't look comfortable in the first half, but settled in nicely after halftime as No. 23 Wisconsin routed Massachusetts, 45-0.
The sophomore, recently tabbed the starting quarterback, was only 4-for-11 for 36 yards with an interception in the first half, and couldn't lead the Badgers into the end zone with first-and-goal from the five-yard-line.
However, he proved he didn't have any confidence issues by unleashing a 65-yard touchdown pass to Jared Abbrederis on Wisconsin's first play of the second half.
The Minutemen, without top returning running back Jordan Broadnax and their top returning receiver, tight end Rob Branchflower, because of injuries, looked overmatched playing in its second FBS season.
Colter Johnson punted six times for Massachusetts, which included kicks of only 28 and five yards. The Minutemen only crossed the 50-yard-line three times.
Wisconsin averaged nearly nine yards carry. James White and Melvin Gordon rushed for a combined 292 of the Badgers' 369 rushing yards. White, Gordon, freshman Corey Clement and Stave scored rushing touchdowns.
Abbrederis, an All-Big Ten receiver a year ago, didn't catch a pass until the second half.
Nine minutes after hauling in the 65-yard bomb, he caught a 57-yard touchdown pass, making the 76,306 fans at Camp Randall Stadium wondering if the Badgers would cover the enormous 44½-point spread.
Massachusetts elected not to try a 50-yard field goal on fourth-and-eight midway through the fourth quarter and when A.J. Doyle's pass fell incomplete, the shutout remained and the point spread was covered.
NOTES: RB Melvin Gordon showed off his speed with a 70-yard run off right tackle to put the Badgers up, 17-0, at halftime. The sophomore had a career high 13 carries for 146 yards and a touchdown. ... LB Chris Borland had a game-tying nine tackles to lead the Badgers' defense. ... It was Wisconsin's first shutout since Sept. 10, 2011, when Wisconsin beat Oregon State, 35-0. ... QB Mike Megzyn of Massachusetts was 9-for-23 with 73 yards and an interception before being pulled in the fourth quarter. The redshirt sophomore was largely ineffective against the Badgers' new 3-4 defense.