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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Sunday, March 03, 2024

Clement stars for Badgers in victory against Hawkeyes

Senior running back Corey Clement had potentially his best game of the season for the Badgers Saturday afternoon against Iowa, often leading a sometimes wavering Wisconsin offense up and down the field. Clement has struggled at times this year, but the talented running back carried some momentum from last week’s loss against Ohio State into this game, and consequently was definitely the Badgers’ most valuable player in their win over the Hawkeyes.

With his ability to get key first downs, keep the clock rolling and find his way into the end zone, Clement shouldered the load against Iowa and came up huge when the Badgers needed it most.

The running back earned 135 yards on 35 hard-fought carries. Many of those touches were often contested by more than one man, but Clement kept his composure and never became frustrated, as his short gains ultimately piled up into significant yardage as the game progressed.

Clement’s drive to pound the ball was most aptly highlighted, after redshirt freshman quarterback Alex Hornibrook’s 57-yard hookup with freshman receiver Quintez Cephus in the mid-third quarter gave Clement the green light to bury it into the Hawkeyes’ defense from the goal line. Head coach Paul Chryst called Clement’s name on three straight plays, and the running back then found the end zone to put the Badgers up 14-7—a touchdown that became decisive, as the Hawkeyes ended with only nine points.

This touchdown was Clement’s redemption for an unfortunate fumble in the redzone with under a minute to play in the first half, as the running back was in the process of stretching for the goal line when the ball questionably just came loose. The senior showed impressive poise to again remain calm, and as the second half progressed, physically overpowered Iowa and took out his frustrations in the forms of bruising four-to-five-yard gains that carried multiple defenders with him.

Clement, even late in the fourth, continued to run hard, dishing out the final blow to the Hawkeyes’ chances, in a crunch time third-and-one with only 3:46 left in the game. Down only 14-6, Iowa had a window still open to tie the game up with a stop on a pivotal third-and-one. The running back took the carry and bounced out to the left side, dodging two tackles for losses before making another tackler miss. Clement necessitated half of the defense to take him down en route to a game-clinching 34-yard gain.

The Badgers have won every game that Clement suited up for and scored a touchdown, while dropping both games that the running back has not gotten in the end zone. Clearly, Clement’s success is often emblematic of Wisconsin success.

Going forward, after two consecutive solid games from Clement, look for the Badgers to feed the running back again and again against a Nebraska defense who has been solid against the run all year—allowing 124.4 yards-per-game along with only nine touchdowns over seven games. If Clement can put up similar numbers, and find his way into the end zone, then he will give the Wisconsin offense much-needed momentum and yardage next Saturday night.

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