MADISON, Wis. -- The road to a perfect season becomes substantially more difficult in the coming weeks for the University of Wisconsin football team. Away games against Michigan State, Ohio State and Illinois remain on the Badgers' schedule. But before looking ahead, here's a look back at Wisconsin's performance during a 59-7 drubbing of Indiana on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium.
Rushing offense: A
Wisconsin put together its finest running performance all season, gaining 332 yards. As a team, the Badgers averaged 7.9 yards per carry.
Montee Ball again demonstrated his knack for scoring touchdowns. He carried 14 times for 142 yards with three TDs and now has 16 rushing scores this season. Ball was complemented nicely Saturday by James White, who added 87 yards rushing with a score.
"I slapped him on the butt on Thursday and said, 'You're going to have a big week' just because I saw him during the bye week take attention to detail," Badgers coach Bret Bielema said of White. "He missed Wednesday's practice because he had a chemistry class. He probably got the legs underneath him a little bit. I just had a feeling he was going to come out and play well, and that's exactly what he did."
Saturday's game marked the first time that both Ball and White collectively gained more than 200 yards rushing this season. It's a formula the Badgers would certainly like to replicate over their six remaining regular-season games.
Quarterback Russell Wilson also showed his versatility, gaining 42 yards on two carries. By scrambling for two big runs, Wilson gave defenses another reason to pause when he's in the pocket.
"I just try to stay focused on what I'm doing and notice where I'm going and where guys were," Wilson said. "I'm always looking to pass the ball first, but when I have to run it, I'm just trying to get the first down."
Passing offense: B
In a game that gets out of hand early, there really isn't reason to sling the ball around with great frequency. As a result, Wilson's passing numbers were solid but not spectacular.
Wilson was efficient in completing 12 of 17 passes for 166 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions in three quarters. His longest completion was 46 yards, but he mostly relied on shorter passes to keep the chains moving.
The Badgers do deserve some credit for making things flow so smoothly despite playing without leading wide receiver Nick Toon, who missed the game with a foot injury.
And who could forget the great halfback pass play from Montee Ball to Wilson in the second quarter? Ball tossed a wobbling duck to Wilson, who caught the ball around the left side in stride and ran untouched into the end zone.
"It was terrible because he was wide open and I was nervous," Ball said. "I was nervous when I let the ball go, but he did a great job tracking it down."
The 25-yard touchdown pass put Wisconsin in front, 21-0, with 11:32 remaining in the second quarter and crushed any hopes the Hoosiers had of getting back in the game.
Rushing defense: B
Wisconsin didn't have its finest couple of hours in this area. The Badgers allowed a season-worst 223 yards on 45 carries, an average of 5.0 yards per carry.
Before this game, the run defense had surrendered an average of 103.2 yards per game through five contests.
The big breakdown came late in the second quarter, when Hoosiers running back Stephen Houston burst through up the middle for a 67-yard touchdown run. It was the only sign of life Indiana showed most of the game.
Still, it's important to note that because the Hoosiers' passing offense was so mediocre it relied on the running game more than most Wisconsin opponents. And all the Hoosiers had to show for it was one touchdown.
Passing defense: A
Wisconsin couldn't have accomplished more in this area. Indiana quarterbacks Edward Wright-Baker and Tre Robertson completed eight of 20 passes for 64 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
Aaron Henry and Antonio Fenelus came up big for the Badgers in the secondary, each intercepting a pass from Wright-Baker. Fenelus earned his pick on a fourth-down fade play in the end zone.
"We take it as a challenge," Fenelus said. "We bet each other for who gets the first pick, and then when Aaron and I both had one, it's, 'Who is going to get the second pick?' We just keep it fun and make sure we entertain out there."
Special teams: A
From Jared Abbrederis returning a punt 60 yards for a touchdown to Brad Nortman cleanly punting away a season-high six kicks to Phillip Welch making his first field goal of the season, Wisconsin executed in all facets of special teams.
Abbrederis' shifty return was the most thrilling of those plays. When Indiana players finally caught up to him around the 15-yard line, he cut across field and made them all miss on his way to the end zone.
"It was a lot of fun," Abbrederis said. "The punt return team did a good job getting all of their blocks. I didn't really have to do anything until around the 15-yard line. It was just exciting to be out there."