MADISON – Paul Chryst’s return to Camp Randall was quite a success. The first-year University of Wisconsin-Madison head coach led the Badgers to a 58-0 non-conference victory over Miami (Ohio) in the home opener on a picture perfect day in Madison on Saturday, Sept. 12.
Chryst, a Platteville native, was an assistant coach for the Badgers for seven seasons, serving as UW’s co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach in 2005 and offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2006-11. During those seven seasons, Wisconsin compiled a 70-22 (.761) record, winning at least 10 games five times.
He left to become head coach at the University of Pittsburgh in 2012 before returning to Madison this past winter when former head coach Gary Anderson left for Oregon State.
Chryst was also a three-time football letterwinner at Wisconsin, where he earned a degree in political science in 1988. As a quarterback at Platteville High School, he led the Hillmen to a WIAA Division 4 state championship title in 1983.
Previously, Chryst was an assistant coach at UW-Platteville in 1993. His late father, George, was a longtime head coach at UW-Platteville and a former Badgers player and assistant coach.
Wide receiver Alex Erickson, a senior from Darlington, caught five passes for 73 yards and returned four punts for 72 yards in the victory. The former Redbird also recovered a fumble and registered a tackle in the game.
Erickson hauled in three catches for 53 yards on the Badgers’ opening drive, which resulted in a 29-yard field goal by Rafael Gaglianone that put UW ahead to stay.
Erickson added a 35-yard punt return down to the Miami 16-yard line later in the first quarter to help set up the Badgers’ first touchdown of the day.
Three plays after his return, quarterback Joel Stave connected with Robert Wheelwright on a 13-yard scoring strike to increase the lead to 13-0 with six seconds remaining in the opening quarter.
Erickson hauled in an 8-yard catch during another scoring drive late in the first half to lead the Badgers to a 37-0 halftime advantage, and he ripped off a 28-yard punt return down to the Miami 17 to set up yet another score.
Taiwan Deal hit pay dirt from a yard out on the third play from scrimmage after Erickson’s return to extend the Badger lead to 44-0.
In two games this season, Erickson — a 2011 graduate of Darlington High School and the son of Mike and Linda Erickson — leads the team with 11 catches and 146 receiving yards.
Next up, the Badgers (1-1 overall) host Troy (1-1) at Camp Randall Stadium in Saturday, Sept. 19. Kickoff is slated for 2:30 p.m.