Corey Clement is practicing patience as the clock winds down on his college football career.
There are just four games left in his final regular season at Wisconsin, starting with a trip Saturday to face Northwestern.
The senior came up big in the eighth-ranked Badgers’ biggest game of the season, but his 164 yards on 25 carries on Oct. 15 came in an overtime loss to then-No. 2 Ohio State. Clement has shown flashes of big-play ability and has been a rock-solid contributor to the Badgers’ ground game.
What Clement hasn’t had is that breakout performance that propels Wisconsin (6-2, 3-2, No. 8 CFP) to victory, a game that makes national pundits notice.
“As far as statistic-wise, it’s going to come, and understand we’re getting stronger as the season is going on,” Clement said.
He focused on the team first. With such a rigorous schedule, Clement would rather be 6-2 against tough completion than 2-6 but with better personal stats.
Not that Clement hasn’t been producing, either. He has run for 699 yards and six touchdowns on 161 carries.
His 4.3 yards per carry average is lower than his career average (5.7 yards). But keep in mind that Wisconsin remains a work in progress on an offensive line that doesn’t start a senior.
“When you look at it, I can’t really be too negative about the season, what happened,” Clement said when asked about his stats. “I don’t want to be selfish, I’ve just got to really put it on the team, and really focus on the real object at end at the end of the season.”
Expectations are high when a top recruit goes to Wisconsin, a running back factory that has produced college greats like Melvin Gordon, Montee Ball and Ron Dayne.
Team-wise, the Badgers have exceeded outside expectations with three wins over top 10 programs, a school first. Their two losses, to the Buckeyes and No. 2 Michigan, were by a combined 14 points.
The schedule also includes a host of top defenses, an added degree of difficulty for Clement.
“I think our guys are really stepping up to the challenge,” he said.
Ryan Ramczyk, a junior college transfer, has been a rock at left tackle. Michael Deiter has played well alternating between center and left guard.
But the Badgers have mixed and matched elsewhere at times as they look to build depth and find effective combinations. Deiter said he doesn’t think the different pairings disrupts chemistry, since the Badgers also use different combinations in practice.
“Chemistry is something that as an O-line kind of happens instantly. Some people say you’ve got to get a bunch of reps together to find it,” Deiter said. “But I don’t think so. Really no matter who’s in there, you’re going to find that groove right away. And if not, they probably won’t be in there.”
Chryst has also been using freshman Bradrick Shaw more of late. Shaw, who had a 21-yard touchdown run last week’s win over Nebraska , could be the starting tailback next year. Senior Dare Ogunbowale had 11 carries for 120 yards, including the 11-yard scoring run in overtime against the Cornhuskers.
“As many guys as we can get into the rotation (that) is going to keep us all fresh,” Clement said.
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