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Anderson eager to face UW
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epasnoopy Offline
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Anderson eager to face UW
Anderson eager to face UW
http://badgerherald.com/sports/2007/10/1..._to_fa.php

by Jesse Husid
Thursday, October 18, 2007

Quote:A less-than-subtle giddiness took over Justin Anderson when he heard how many rushing yards the Wisconsin defense was giving up per game.

“This is my first time hearing about it. I mean now that you say it, yeah, I’m a little bit excited,” Anderson said with a laugh.

You might laugh too if you were the sixth leading rusher in the nation, knowing you were going up against an opponent that has given up 163 yards per game on the ground this year.

Anderson, the now-featured running back for Northern Illinois, is hardly a household name, yet he has rushed for more yards (868) than Heisman candidates Rashard Mendenhall of Illinois (839), Darren McFadden of Arkansas (822) and Ray Rice of Rutgers (818), not to mention Wisconsin’s own P.J. Hill (825).

What’s more impressive is that the third-year sophomore has essentially amassed this total in a mere 5 1/2 games. When junior tailback Montell Clanton suffered a torn ACL in the second game of the season against Southern Illinois, the Huskies looked to Anderson to take the reins of the running game. In the five games since, Anderson has averaged 157 yards, while scoring four touchdowns (he had three touchdowns in the Southern Illinois game as well).

“Every week, coach says to practice like you’re the starter, so once I got the starting position, I felt like I was prepared,” Anderson said. “I’m not really surprised (by my success). I’ve always felt confident in my game, but also confident in my teammates, that they’ll put me in position to run the ball well.”

Though Northern Illinois head coach Joe Novak describes the 5-foot-11, 222-pound Anderson as a big kid who “doesn’t have a lot of wiggle to him,” as opposed to a shifty, sideline-to-sideline runner, Anderson disagrees.

“I’m elusive. I’m the guy that’s trying to take it to the house every time. I’ve got the ability to make guys miss,” Anderson said. “I’ve been told by old coaches that I remind them of O.J. Simpson, but I don’t see it.

“I’m fast and strong. If it’s third and 1, I’m coming at you. If it’s third and 15, I’m trying to do whatever I have to do to get the first (down).”

One thing nobody can debate is the impressive workload being handed to Anderson. Since he began starting, Novak has given Anderson more than 30 carries a game, in addition to the 30 balls he’s caught in the passing game this season.

That’s a lot of touches for even the most experienced backs in the nation, let alone a kid who was a backup just six weeks ago.

“He’s obviously carried too much of a load,” Novak said. “He really has carried our football team. I don’t know where we’d be without him.”

The fact of the matter is that Northern Illinois would probably be in a very similar spot without Anderson. The Huskies come into Madison with a record of just 1-6, going 0-4 against MAC opponents, their lone victory coming against Idaho.

Anderson was quick to point out that four of those losses were by less than a touchdown (a combined margin of 10 points, actually), though one of those losses was to Temple, a perennial college football cellar-dweller.

Anderson, however, has taken the losses as a learning experience.

“It definitely makes you tougher. It definitely makes you emphasize the smaller things,” Anderson said. “You have to take care of the football, try to execute in every situation of football in order to be successful and win the game.”

Despite the tough start to the season, Anderson remains pumped up and confident going into Saturday’s matchup.

“I would love to play in front of 80,000 people every week, but obviously I’m not in that situation. I’m going to be very excited to play these guys,” Anderson said.

“Coach Novak discussed that all these teams have been upset. Michigan has been upset, USC has been upset. It’s like, ‘Why can’t we come out and upset Wisconsin?’ We’re all confident in ourselves, and we haven’t lost confidence considering our record. We’re all working hard and watching more film and taking care of what we need to take care of this week to beat these guys.”

One thing Anderson has been working on is his ball control. Perhaps the only number on his stat sheet that stands out for the wrong reasons is his four fumbles.

“I have to take care of the ball,” Anderson said of his biggest weakness. “I’m definitely working on that every week to make sure I don’t put the ball on the field. I don’t plan on having any more fumbles this year.”

Even if Anderson has a turnover-free day on Saturday, the Badgers will most likely have their first win in three weeks. However, if Northern Illinois’ name is added to the list this year’s upset-minded teams that already includes Appalachian State and Stanford, you can bet the sixth leading rusher in the country will have had the last laugh.
10-18-2007 04:39 PM
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cyberdawg Offline
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RE: Anderson eager to face UW
OJ not a good reference.

Bulletin board material for UW D .

Wanna wager whether or not JA runs for a 100 yds or scores vs. Badgers?
10-18-2007 05:36 PM
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7 Offline
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RE: Anderson eager to face UW
“Coach Novak discussed that all these teams have been upset. Michigan has been upset, USC has been upset. It’s like, ‘Why can’t we come out and upset Wisconsin?’ We’re all confident in ourselves, and we haven’t lost confidence considering our record. We’re all working hard and watching more film and taking care of what we need to take care of this week to beat these guys.”

Amen.
10-18-2007 05:38 PM
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chihuskie Offline
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RE: Anderson eager to face UW
[Quote] One thing nobody can debate is the impressive workload being handed to Anderson. Since he began starting, Novak has given Anderson more than 30 carries a game, in addition to the 30 balls he’s caught in the passing game this season.

That’s a lot of touches for even the most experienced backs in the nation, let alone a kid who was a backup just six weeks ago.

“He’s obviously carried too much of a load,” Novak said. [Quote]

[Quote] One thing Anderson has been working on is his ball control. Perhaps the only number on his stat sheet that stands out for the wrong reasons is his four fumbles.

“I have to take care of the ball,” Anderson said of his biggest weakness. “I’m definitely working on that every week to make sure I don’t put the ball on the field. I don’t plan on having any more fumbles this year.” [Quote]
10-18-2007 05:45 PM
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chihuskie Offline
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RE: Anderson eager to face UW
[quote=chihuskie]
[Quote] One thing nobody can debate is the impressive workload being handed to Anderson. Since he began starting, Novak has given Anderson more than 30 carries a game, in addition to the 30 balls he’s caught in the passing game this season.

That’s a lot of touches for even the most experienced backs in the nation, let alone a kid who was a backup just six weeks ago.

“He’s obviously carried too much of a load
,” Novak said. [Quote]

[Quote] One thing Anderson has been working on is his ball control. Perhaps the only number on his stat sheet that stands out for the wrong reasons is his four fumbles.

“I have to take care of the ball,” Anderson said of his biggest weakness. “I’m definitely working on that every week to make sure I don’t put the ball on the field. I don’t plan on having any more fumbles this year.” [Quote]
[/quote]
10-18-2007 05:46 PM
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cyberdawg Offline
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RE: Anderson eager to face UW
While coaches and players must always have a level on confidence to compete & play well, here is a TEST of a fan's confidence:

Any takers on my two wager propositions?
(This post was last modified: 10-18-2007 05:59 PM by cyberdawg.)
10-18-2007 05:57 PM
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