The atmosphere at Camp Randall was electric as 81,384 fans watched the #7 Wisconsin Badgers (5-0) spoil the #8 Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-1) first-ever Big Ten game by beating them fairly handily, 48-17.
With the win on national TV for everyone to see, the Badgers will be catapulted in to National Championship talk. After the game, Wisconsin Head Coach Bret Bielema stated “I hope the blackshirts enjoyed their trip to Madison.”
What It Means: In regards to Bielema’s comment on the Blackshirts, it’s going to be a long trip back to Omaha. The Badgers put up 486 total yards of offense and forced three turnovers on defense. Huskers star QB Taylor Martinez had a nightmarish night against the Badgers while throwing three interceptions and averaging a mere three yards on the ground, well below his season average.
Kudos to the Badgers defense who made all the right adjustments after giving up two touchdowns in the first quarter. Following the Huskers second touchdown, the Badgers embraced the adversity of being down for the first time this season and reeled off 34 unanswered points. It was interceptions by LB Mike Taylor, S Aaron Henry and DB Antonio Fenelus which were all momentum builders for the Badgers.
Wisconsin’s offense used to be focused around the running game, but I’m not so sure that’s the case anymore. With each week that goes by, the Badgers look more and more balanced. Against Nebraska, UW accumulated 255 yards through the air compared to 231 on the ground.
RB Montee Ball continued his love for the end-zone as he rushed for 151 yards and four touchdowns. Ball has now scored a touchdown in eleven straight games and scored two or more touchdowns in nine consecutive regular season games.
Wilson showed on a national stage that he is a real Heisman candidate. Everyone in the press box was amazed by how he made Cornhusker defenders miss on numerous occasions. In addition to his super quick feet, Russell makes the deep pass look very natural.
Bielema credits Wilson’s success to “taking the same approach every day.” He also added, “If there’s a better college football player in the nation right now, I would like to see it.” That is some high praise for the leader of the Badgers dynamic offense who at one point in the game was 6/6 with six straight first downs on third down situations.
Highlight of the Game: It’s not seen too often in the game of college football, but the star of the day, Russell Wilson beautifully executed a play-action sweep which resulted in a 36 yard strike to wideout Jared Abbrederis. The score put the Badgers ahead 20 to 14 in the second quarter. It ended up being a turning point in the game as Wilson would go on to throw another passing TD and also run for another.
Stat of the Game: (29) When Wilson completed his 36 yard touchdown to Abbrederis in the second quarter, the signal caller extended his streak of games with a passing touchdown to 29 straight games, a mark which is tops in the nation. Wilson has also thrown at least two TD passes in each of his five games as a Badger. That is the longest multiple-TD streak in UW history.
What’s Next: After an emotional win over #8 Nebraska, the Badgers will get a week off before they prepare to play the Indiana Hoosiers (1-3) at home. If I was the Hoosiers, I would be very scared because this same Badgers team beat them 83-20 at Camp Randall last season. Next week, the Hoosiers will play an undefeated #24 Illinois (5-0) team, so it should prove to be a really tough stretch for them.
What did you think of the Badgers decisive win over the Cornhuskers? Are the Badgers legitimate national championship contenders? Let me know by commenting below!
Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, and Milwaukee Brewers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks