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Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon looking to get back on track

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AP Photo/Morry Gash
Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon has not yet put up the number many expected he would.

Wisconsin junior tailback Melvin Gordon graded himself Monday during the Badgers' weekly news conference, and he gave himself a "D."

Gordon (6-foot-1, 213 pounds) rushed for 1,609 yards and 12 TDs and averaged 7.8 yards per carry last season; through two games this season, he has 198 yards and one TD and is averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Those numbers are solid, but they're nowhere near what is expected of one of the most talented backs in the nation.

"It's tough when everyone across the country is expecting you to break a long one probably every game, and if you don't, it's like, 'Maybe he's not what we thought he was,'" Gordon told reporters. "But you've got to ignore it the best you can, try to move forward and put your best foot forward in the next game."

That next game is Saturday against Bowling Green, whose defense has allowed 374 rushing yards and seven rushing TDs in its two games against FBS opponents this season. Last week, Indiana tailback Tevin Coleman ran for 190 yards and three TDs against the Falcons.

Gordon had 16 carries for 140 yards and a TD in the opener against LSU, but he suffered a minor hip injury and only had four carries in the second half. He followed that up with one of the worst performances of his career: 17 carries for 38 yards in a win over FCS opponent Western Illinois.

But there was one bright spot against the Leathernecks: He had the first TD reception of his career and his four receptions in that game actually exceeded his career total coming into the contest (he had just three catches in his first two seasons).

In addition, Gordon has shown he can be counted upon as a blocker in pass situations.

"I'm just trying to polish up everything as a player," he told badger247.com last week. "I want to be great at everything. The goal is to try and be as close to that as you can. My goal is to be an all-around back."

Badgers coach Gary Andersen said Monday he isn't worried about Gordon.

"The big thing with Melvin -- I'm on guard with that with any player when they may be in a position to have expectations that they put on themselves or that they think have been put on them," Andersen told reporters. "I see zero signs of that, and when I talk to Melvin about it he says, 'Coach, I'm ready to go. I'm good and ready to go.' And I believe him when he says that to me. I honestly believe he's saying, 'Coach, I'm going to have my opportunity to get mine.'"

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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