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MADISON, Wis. – Melvin Gordon rushed for 122 yards and three touchdowns, and Wisconsin's restocked defense stifled mistake-prone Maryland for a 52-7 win on Saturday.
Gordon had his three scores in the first half, when the Badgers (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten) raced out to a 24-0 halftime lead on a sunny homecoming weekend game. Joel Stave threw for two scores in the second half against Maryland (5-3, 2-2).
The Big Ten rookie Terrapins accomplished little with the ball in their first visit to Camp Randall Stadium. Dual-threat quarterback C.J. Brown faced pressure all afternoon from the blitzing Badgers, who were fortified on defense with the returns of top tackle Warren Herring and run-stopping linebacker Marcus Trotter from injuries.
Maryland avoided their first shutout of the season on Stefon Diggs' 21-yard touchdown catch with 57 seconds left in the game.
Otherwise, Wisconsin brought Maryland's five-game road winning streak to an emphatic end. The Terps were held to 175 yards of total offense, 227 below their season average. Most of the yardage came late in the blowout loss.
Fresh off a bye, the Badgers even dusted off a couple trick plays, including punter Drew Meyer's floating pass to open tight end Troy Fumagalli over the middle for a 17-yard gain on fourth-and-9 from the Maryland 36.
It set up a 36-yard field goal by Rafael Gaglianone to give Wisconsin a 10-0 lead at 3:46 of the first quarter.
Maryland fumbled the ball away on the next drive after a handoff bounced off running back Brandon Ross' chest. Linebacker Vince Biegel pounced on the ball, and Gordon barreled in from a yard out six plays later for a 17-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter.
The next drive exemplified the Terps' trying day.
Brown hit Deon Long on first down for a 22-yard gain to the Wisconsin 49 before two straight penalties pushed the Terps back 10 yards.
Trotter tackled Ross from behind for a 3-yard loss. Fellow inside linebacker Derek Landisch easily snuffed out a short pass to Ross for a 4-yard loss. Under yet more pressure on third-and-27, Brown tossed a long incompletion.
The sure-tackling Badgers consistently contained Maryland's skill players and diagnosed read-option plays. Maryland had just 3 yards in total rushing at the half and finished with 46 on the day, limited by a strong performance — especially from Wisconsin's linebacking corps.
Brown finished 13 of 29 for 129 yards passing, with 14 yards rushing on 13 carries. Ross had 6 yards on seven carries, and Maryland was just 3 of 15 on third-down plays.
For Wisconsin, the offense found success with its two-quarterback system. Stave finished 9 of 15 for 155 yards in his second straight start, taking the majority of the snaps.
Tanner McEvoy provided a change of pace with his ability to scramble. He led Wisconsin on two touchdown drives, including an entertaining 60-yard run for a touchdown with 13:42 left in the fourth quarter for a 45-0 lead.
Wisconsin's vaunted running attack finished with 311 yards on 49 carries, torching a defense that was giving up an average of 198 on the ground a game.
Gordon ended with 22 carries, sitting out the fourth quarter with the game well in hand.
Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP