Montee Ball continued his dominant play and set the conference record for touchdowns in a season. He is now 12 behind Barry Sanders' NCCA record of 39. (AP Photo/Paul Battaglia)
Russell Wilson completed 16 of 17 passes for 178 yards and four touchdowns to lead Wisconsin past Minnesota, 42-13. The victory was never in doubt, as the Gophers managed just 156 yards of offense compared to the Badgers’ 461. Montee Ball had a momentous game, setting the single season touchdown record in the Big Ten with 27. On Saturday, Ball rushed for 166 yards and two touchdowns on 23 attempts and also caught a five-yard touchdown pass to start off the scoring.
Nick Toon returned to his playmaking ways and caught eight passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Jared Abbrederis was injured during the game but it’s unclear how serious the injury is. If he’s out for any amount of time, Toon will have to keep up this production and Wisconsin may have to rely on tight ends more often.
The special teams played poorly once again and gave up all 13 points. Minnesota scored in the second quarter on a fake field goal, which the kicker ran in for a touchdown. Ironically, he missed the extra point attempt so I guess the Badgers special teams did their job if only for a moment. They also allowed a 96-yard kick return for touchdown coming out of halftime. The special teams have become a true weakness for the Badgers and something clearly needs to change.
The easy victory over the Gophers was expected, but Saturday improved Wisconsin’s standing in the Big Ten race because of some unexpected losses. Ohio State fell to Purdue in overtime, 26-23. That gives the Buckeyes three conferences losses and two tough games remaining against Penn State and Michigan. Nebraska ended Penn State’s flawless conference record with a 17-14 victory. That outcome wasn’t entirely surprising considering the circumstances surrounding Penn State, but the loss means Wisconsin just has to win its last two games (@Illinois, vs Penn State) to win the Leaders division.