With credit to the late Notorious B.I.G., the Wisconsin Badgers are going, going, back, back to Cali after demolishing the Nebraska Cornhuskers 70-31 in the Big Ten Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
The 70 points the Badgers (8-5) scored are tied for the second most in the modern era in school-history and tied for the most ever in a conference championship game (Texas had 70 in 2005).
UW’s three-headed monster is back and fiercer than ever as Montee Ball, James White and Melvin Gordon combined for 539 yards rushing and nine total touchdowns.
What It Means: Wisconsin will be the first five loss team to ever play in the Rose Bowl. They will most likely catch some flack from the national media because of the path they took to the game, but it shouldn’t have much effect on this team. Considering the Badgers came into this game underdogs and performed this well with their backs to the wall shows that they could care less about what the media thinks. No matter how you chalk it up, the Badgers locked up a third straight Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl birth.
Player of the Game: Freshman RB Melvin Gordon (9 carries for 216 yards and a touchdown)
This could have easily went to Ball who officially became NCAA’s Divison One All-Time leader in touchdowns or White who accounted for five total touchdowns (four rushing and one passing). But what Gordon did in nine carries was truly amazing. With his first carry, he took it 56 yards to the house. At the end of the day, Gordon averaged 24.0 yards per carry. We all know Wisconsin is “Running Back U,” but this guy could be special. The future is bright.
Highlight of the Game: Early in the third quarter, Ball broke away from multiple defenders before laying a nasty stiff-arm on Nebraska CB Ciante Evans down the field. Oh yeah, did I mention that it was a 57 yard touchdown and Ball’s second score of the day.
Stat of the Game (539): The amount of rushing yards, the most allowed by Nebraska in their school-history. Amazingly, it’s only the fourth most the Badgers have racked up in a single game in their history.
What’s Next: #8 Stanford, 27-24 winners over UCLA in the Pac-12 Championship await the Badgers over on the West Coast. This will be a very interesting game because these two programs are basically mirror images of one another. Both are built behind strong running games and stingy defenses. Should be a fun few weeks to break down which team will have the edge in Pasadena on New Year’s Day.
Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice and pretend to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best. If social media is not your thing, shoot him an email at email@example.com.
Pictures are courtesy of my very own smart-phone.