MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Matt Bernstein ended his fast with a feast.
The 270-pound fullback bullied his way to a career-best 123
yards after replacing an ineffective and injured Booker Stanley to
help No. 20 Wisconsin hold off Penn State 16-3 Saturday night.
Bernstein hadn't eaten for 24 hours because of Yom Kippur, so he
wolfed down oranges and turkey on the sideline after kickoff, along
with several chugs of water.
"It's been a tough day," he said. "I was happy (kickoff) was
at 5 o'clock so I could play."
So was Badgers coach Barry Alvarez, who cracked that after the
game "we gave him a hoagie and an IV."
The Badgers (1-0 Big Ten) held their opponents out of the end
zone for the third time in four games and ended the month 4-0
despite the absence of star tailback Anthony Davis (eye) for the
last 3½ games.
The loss was costly for the Nittany Lions (2-2, 0-1), who lost
their top two offensive weapons in the first quarter when
quarterback Zack Mills injured his right shoulder on Penn State's
first series and his replacement, multitalented Michael Robinson,
suffered a concussion.
After the game, Penn State coach Joe Paterno learned his
son-in-law, Chris Hort, had been involved in a serious bicycle
accident in State College and immediately flew home ahead of his
Bernstein was pressed into duty when Stanley, who gained just 9
yards on 10 carries, couldn't go in the second half after
aggravating a turf toe injury and Jamil Walker hurt a shoulder.
Bernstein said offensive coordinator Brian White told him during
the week to be ready.
"And I didn't believe him, obviously, because who's going to
put in a 270-pound tailback?" Bernstein said.
After gaining 3 yards on one carry before halftime, Bernstein
learned White wasn't kidding and he rushed 26 times for 120 yards
in the second half, numbers similar to his entire 2003 output, when
he gained 120 yards on 29 attempts. His previous career highs were
six carries and 29 yards rushing.
Not only did he chew up yards and clock, but Bernstein displayed
an athleticism few of the Camp Randall Stadium record crowd of
82,179 knew existed when he twice hurdled a safety for big gains.
"Little guys don't really go high, they go low," Bernstein
Bernstein carried 11 times for 62 yards on a 17-play, 73-yard
drive to open the second half that ate eight minutes and put the
Badgers up 16-0 on Mike Allen's third field goal, this one from 26
"I thought the drive in the third quarter is what killed us,"
Lions defensive coordinator Tom Bradley said. "Bernstein was
playing as a tailback. (Greg Root) was the fullback. They're not
running backs. They're guards."
The Badgers hope to get Davis back in the lineup, at least on a
limited basis, next week against Illinois.
There's no telling how long the Lions will be without their
playmaker. Robinson spent the night at University of Wisconsin
Hospital & Clinics, where doctors reported he was moving all his
fingers and toes.
Because Robinson is so versatile, it was like losing three
players at once.
"We lost him at fullback, at wide receiver, at quarterback,"
teammate Paul Jefferson said. "That's a big hit to our whole
On first-and-10 from his 18, Robinson spun around just in time
to take a hit on the chin from the charging defensive end Erasmus
James, who had beaten right guard Tyler Reed around the edge.
Robinson crumpled to the turf and the crowd fell silent as
medical personnel attended to him for several minutes before
strapping him to a body board and putting him into an ambulance.
Robinson had caught a 49-yard pass from Mills on the Lions'
Mills threw an interception on the next snap, his 11th turnover
in the last three games, sprained his right (non-throwing) shoulder
on the play and was replaced under center by Robinson, who
completed 1 of 3 passes for six yards and was sacked twice.
Third-string quarterback Chris Ganter replaced Robinson and
completed just 6-of-23 passes for 32 yards.
"We had to alter our game plan a lot. Michael is a quarterback,
is a wide receiver. He helps you in so many ways," Bradley said.
"Our offense was forced to become very limited."
The Lions went 1-for-13 on third downs and gained just 157 yards
after averaging 30.7 points and 465 yards coming in.
The Badgers capitalized on the Lions' second turnover -- a fumble
by Tony Hunt that James recovered -- to drive 44 yards for a
touchdown and a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. John Stocco ran a
naked bootleg to the right side from the 5-yard line. Allen added
field goals of 39 and 38 yards as Wisconsin took a 13-0 halftime
All the Lions could muster was Robbie Gould's 23-yard field goal
in the third quarter.
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