Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 11/26/11
MADISON, Wis. Wisconsin left little doubt as to which team was superior in the Big Ten's Leaders Division on Saturday, pounding Penn State, 45-7, at Camp Randall Stadium.The Badgers (10-2, 7-1) clinched the Leaders Division title and advanced for a rematch against Michigan State (10-2, 7-1) next Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Here are five things we learned from Saturday's game:1. Montee Ball's march toward history continues. Given the way Badgers running back Montee Ball has crushed scoring records at will this season, it seems difficult to believe that he could one-up himself this late in the year. But Ball may have accomplished just that on Saturday, tying a career-high with four rushing touchdowns against Penn State.In total, Ball carried 25 times for 156 yards in the most important game of the season, scoring on touchdown runs of 1, 2, 9 and 18 yards before the fourth quarter had even begun.Ball has scored at least one touchdown in 18 straight games and has at least two touchdowns in all 12 games this season. That breaks the NCAA record of 11 straight two-touchdown games, held by Barry Sanders. Ball now has 34 touchdowns this season, the second-most in NCAA history behind only Sanders' 39 touchdowns in 1988.Ball's 29 rushing touchdowns this season are a new Big Ten record, breaking the mark of 26 held by Anthony Thompson (Indiana, 1988) and Ki-Jana Carter (Penn State, 1994).Ball downplayed the idea of reaching Sanders' mark of 39 touchdowns."Whatever the offensive line wants," Ball said. "If they want me to get there, then I'll get there."2. The Badgers kept their eye on the prize. Things certainly looked bleak one month ago when Wisconsin suffered its second straight loss and dropped into a three-way tie for second place in the Leaders Division.But the Badgers won three straight games against a favorable schedule before throttling Penn State on Saturday. They also received the necessary help they needed when Penn State and Ohio State lost two weeks ago.Still, Wisconsin deserves credit for playing this last month in the same way that vaulted the team into the national spotlight in through mid-October. Wisconsin outscored its final four regular-season opponents, 44-14. And for the second straight week, the Badgers held their opponent scoreless in the second half.3. Red zone conversions remain a staple of Wisconsin's success. Entering Saturday's game, Wisconsin had converted 51 of 59 red zone appearances into touchdowns, a mark that led the nation. Those numbers occurred thanks in no small part to quarterback Russell Wilson's tremendous leadership and decision-making, as well as Montee Ball's spectacular running skills.On Saturday, the Badgers continued their success in converting red zone opportunities into touchdowns, finishing 5 of 6. The Badgers now have converted 86.2 percent of red zone chances into touchdowns.Not surprisingly, Ball accounted for four of the five red zone touchdowns. The other occurred on a four-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to wide receiver Nick Toon that boosted Wisconsin in front, 28-7, just before halftime.Wisconsin's 45 points overall were the most scored on Penn State by any team in 11 years. It also represented the Badgers' largest margin of victory in series history.4. Passing is no easy task against Wisconsin's defense. Not many teams have found much success through the air against the Badgers, and that trend continued on Saturday.Wisconsin ranked third in the country in pass defense before Saturday, allowing just 146.8 yards per game. In fact, Michigan State was the only team to pass for more than 200 yards against Wisconsin this season and 44 of those yards came on a last-second Hail Mary pass to win the game.Penn State didn't have much luck against Wisconsin on Saturday.Quarterbacks Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden combined to complete 11 of 25 passes for 119 yards with one touchdown and one interception. 5. Hey, don't forget about Russell Wilson. Montee Ball may have stolen the headlines on Saturday with his four-touchdown game, but Russell Wilson continued to be cool under pressure, too.Wilson completed 19 of 29 passes for 186 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. And he now has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 36 straight games, which ties the NCAA record held by Texas Tech's Graham Harrell.Wilson also extended his Wisconsin record for touchdown passes in a season to 28. The old record of 21 was set by John Stocco in 2005."I had a feeling he might bring his double A-plus game this week," Badgers coach Bret Bielema said. "He's good every week, but I think he's just a guy that thrives in this environment. He wanted to play on the big stage in Indianapolis, and there was going to be nothing that denied him from getting to where he wanted to be."Follow Jesse Temple on Twitter
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