Clay shows Hawaii brings out best of Wisconsin RBs
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
Ghosts of Wisconsin running backs pasts continue to haunt Hawai'i football.
This time, sophomore John Clay badgered the Warriors for 172 yards and three touchdowns in the Big Ten team's 51-10 rout of the Warriors.
• Nov. 30, 1996 — Ron Dayne rushes for an astonishing 339 yards and four TDs in a 59-10 win.
• Nov. 25, 2000 — Michael Bennett rushes for 218 yards and one TD in a 34-18 win.
• Nov. 25, 2005 — Brian Calhoun rushes for 149 yards and one TD in a 41-24 win.
"It feels real good to keep the tradition of the backs who have been running here," Clay said. "It's good and that's what I wanted to do."
He got the Badgers going early, touching the ball four times for 24 yards in an eight-play, 70-yard drive that ended with the 6-foot-1, 248-pound Clay pounding into the end zone from two yards.
"That's kind of what we do," Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said. "When we go into this type of situation, on the road, hostile environment, we knew we needed to (run). I'm a big-time possession guy. One thing that I learned from Coach (Barry) Alvarez is the longer you have the football, they don't. The better chance you have to score if they don't (have the ball)."
The Big Ten's Offensive Player of the Year now has 1,396 yards, placing him third in the school's history for sophomore running backs, trailing Anthony Davis (2002, 1,555 yards) and Dayne (1997, 1,457). His career total of 2,280 yards moves him to No. 10 among the school's career rushing leaders.
"I feel good about it," Clay said of his season. "There's more stuff I could've done. It could've been better, but for now, I'm having a good season. My team is working for me so I'm just trying to work hard."
Clay got his second TD of the game late in the second quarter on a three-yard run. The Badgers covered the 80-yard drive on seven running plays. It began with a 34-yard run by Clay.
Clay put the capper late in the third quarter in which he carried the ball the last four plays of an 11-play, 85-yard drive, ending it with a 15-yard TD run.