Fourth-rankedWisconsin bruised and bullied Indiana in a 59-7 victory at Camp Randall Stadium Saturday. The Badgers ran their record to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in Big Ten Conference play.
Here are five things we learned from Wisconsins blowout victory:
The Badgers are showing no mercy.
Wisconsin came into Saturdays game heavily favored 40-point favorites by Las Vegas oddsmakers, in fact. The Badgers didnt skip a beat despite mounting expectations that only seem to get bigger with each victory.
Wisconsin scored 14 points in a three-minute span during the first quarter and never gave the Hoosiers a fighting chance. The Badgers added to the Hoosiers misery with a clever trick play in which Montee Ball tossed a halfback pass to quarterback Russell Wilson for a 25-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
The play represented the Badgers first touchdown pass by a non-quarterback since Al Toon threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Nault against Illinois on Oct. 23, 1982.
We ran it all week, Wilson said. We were probably 10-for-10 in the week. The offensive line did a great job giving Montee enough time. It was actually Montees worst ball of the entire week. We came over to the sideline and I go, Montee, great throw. And he said, Now I see how hard it is for you. The pressures really on throwing it in the game.
Wisconsin is weathering injuries.
Even in a relatively easy victory, several key Badgers were banged up. One player wide receiver Nick Toon was injured without even suiting up to play.
Badgers coach Bret Bielema said Toon aggravated a foot injury during the Nebraska game on Oct. 1. Toon entered Saturdays game as Wisconsins leading receiver this season with 25 catches for 447 yards and six touchdowns.
We thought there might be a chance of him playing, Bielema said. He ran around this morning and didnt feel he could go 100 percent. Just a little irritated in the foot again. They did the x-rays and everything, and its nothing further. But its just irritated and aggravated. Its really irritating Nick, I know that. But I think hell be back this week. Hopefully Tuesday at practice.
Other injuries from Saturdays game included defensive lineman Patrick Butrym (low ankle sprain), wide receiver Fred Willis (ankle sprain) and linebacker Ethan Armstrong (dislocated finger). Bielema said x-rays for further damage were negative on both Willis and Armstrong.The defense is holding strong.
Except for a lapse on one play a 67-yard touchdown run up the middle from Indiana running back Stephen Houston the Badgers defense was nearly flawless.
Wisconsin entered Saturdays contest tied for third in the nation in points allowed per game at 10.2. The Badgers actually lowered that mark to 9.7 points.
Credit belongs to several individuals, led by linebackers Chris Borland and Mike Taylor. Borland accounted for 15 total tackles, while Taylor added 13.
I think were doing well, Borland said. We had one lapse today in that big run and a couple small things. But I think our hard work is paying off.
Safety Aaron Henry and cornerback Antonio Fenelus each intercepted a pass, with Fenelus coming on a fourth-down play in the end zone. Defensive lineman Tyler Dippel also forced a fumble in the end zone, which was recovered by teammate Derek Landisch for a touchdown.
Balls touchdown binge continues.
For anyone wondering whether running back Montee Ball could keep his ridiculous scoring pace going in Big Ten play, the answer through two conference games has been a resounding yes.
On Saturday, he ran for 142 yards on 14 carries with three touchdowns. He now has scored at least one touchdown in 12 consecutive games and has 33 scores during that span.
In back-to-back victories against Nebraska and Indiana, Ball has rushed for an astounding 293 yards and seven touchdowns.
I was making great reads, Ball said. The line was doing a great job and we just played Wisconsin football out there.
Things wont be this easy any longer.
Okay, so Wisconsin has destroyed its first six opponents by an averaging score of 50-10. Its highly unlikely that will continue. Wisconsins next opponent, Michigan State, defeated previously unbeaten Michigan 28-14 on Saturday. The Badgers will be playing their first true road game of the season in East Lansing.
Thats the same Michigan State team that knocked off Wisconsins Rose Bowl team 34-24 last season in East Lansing.
Michigan State, they are a tough team, Badgers linebacker Mike Taylor said. We went there last year and that was kind of the road bump in our season. We know what they bring. They are a tough team, and its a night game. It should be real competitive and a big challenge.
Other road tests include at Ohio State, at Minnesota and at Illinois.