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August 31, 2013

Notes: Freshmen involved in win

MADISON, Wis. - It's so far, so good for Wisconsin's 2013 recruiting class. Five true freshmen played in Wisconsin's season opener against UMass, and a few played key roles in the Badgers' 45-0 win.

Cornerback Sojourn Shelton started the game for the Badgers opposite Peniel Jean, and the 5-foot-9 product of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., recorded four tackles, and pulled down his first career interception in the third quarter. The Badgers also sent Shelton on a cornerback blitz on at least one occasion during the game, and he was credited with a quarterback hurry on the play.

"It felt really [good]," Shelton said of his interception after the game. "I went in to this game wanting an interception. My first varsity high school game I had an interception and that was my goal coming in now. I was pretty excited and amped up and just extremely happy."

True freshman running back Corey Clement also made an impact in his first game as a Badger. Clement carried the ball 16 times for 101 net yards in the fourth quarter, and scored a 23-yard touchdown on just the fourth carry of his career.

"It was great," Clement said of rushing for 100 yards against UMass. "I didn't actually know (about hitting the century mark). I was just trying to play the game, and do what I had to to help out my teammates."

Clement is the first Wisconsin player to rush for 100 yards in his debut since P.J. Hill ran for 130 yards on 22 carries against Bowling Green on Sept. 2, 2006.

Outside linebacker Leon Jacobs recorded the first tackle of his career as well on special teams. Cornerback Jakarrie Washington and running back Austin Ramesh were also listed on the participation report, but were not credited with any stats.

News and notes:

  • Fullback Derek Watt left the game with a leg injury, but Andersen said Watt is fine. We'll find out later in the week what Watt's status is for week two, when the Badgers will host Tennessee Tech.

  • The Badgers forced UMass in to three false starts during the game. It looked like the Minutemen had trouble adjusting to the pre-snap motion the Badgers were using in their new 3-4 defense.

  • The Badgers forced two turnovers on defense against UMass. Brendan Kelly forced a fumble early in the first quarter, and Shelton picked off UMass quarterback Mike Wegzyn in the third quarter. Last season the Badgers didn't record their second turnover until their fifth game of the season, a 30-27 loss to Nebraska in Lincoln.

  • Wisconsin's successful rushing attack marks the first time in school history the Badgers have had three 100-yard rushers in a season opener.

  • Shelton was the first true freshman to start a season-opener for the Badgers since Travis Frederick started at center for the Badgers against Northern Illinois in 2009.

    For more Wisconsin Badgers news, notes and discussion, follow John on Twitter.

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