Melvin Gordon runs for a career-high 259 yards in loss

Nam Y. Huh\Associated Press
Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon is averaging 8.3 yards per carry this season.

Wisconsin junior tailback Melvin Gordon had the best game of his career Saturday, but his 259-yard performance wasn't enough as Northwestern shocked the Badgers 20-14.

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Gordon rolled up his yardage on 27 carries, an impressive average of 9.6 yards per carry. He also scored once, on a 2-yard run early in the third quarter. But while the Badgers finished with 284 rushing yards, they managed just 138 through the air and suffered their second loss of the season.

Gordon's previous career high in yardage was a 253-yard outing against Bowling Green on Sept. 20. He has had three 200-yard games in his career.

Gordon's carries total was the second-highest of his career; he had 32 in last week's win over USF. He has had just four career outings with 20-plus carries, and that two of them have come in the past two games are stark evidence that the Badgers have no other playmakers and a bad passing attack.

Wisconsin quarterback Tanner McEvoy and Joel Stave combined to throw four interceptions. McEvoy threw one in the first half and was benched. Stave -- who started last season -- threw one TD pass but also three picks in the second half.

The Badgers have used two tailbacks extensively the past decade, but backup Corey Clement had only six carries against Northwestern, for just 22 yards.

Gordon now has 871 yards this season, on 105 carries; that's an average of 8.3 yards per carry.

Northwestern opened the season 0-2, but has won three in a row since and is 2-0 in Big Ten play.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.