The rest of the Leaders Division will have to wait another year because the Wisconsin Badgers will be the Leaders’ representative in the Big Ten Championship for the second straight year after a 62-14 win against Indiana at Memorial Stadium.
Last season was the inaugural year for the Championship in Indianapolis, so make it 2-for-2 for the Badgers (7-3, 4-2).
It’s gotten to the point where the Hoosiers (4-6, 2-3) dread playing the Badgers as they’ve been outscored 204-41 in their last three games against Wisconsin. Not only that, but the Badgers racked up a school-record 566 rushing yards in the win.
What It Means: Everyone talked about quarterback Curt Phillips in the week leading up to the game, but what they should have been talking about is the Badgers running backs. Montee Ball (198 yards) and James White (161 yards) helped UW have the best rushing day in school history. It’s safe to say the offensive line is peaking and that Indiana is one of the worst tackling teams in the country. No matter who it was out there, the Badgers were running people over. Even back-ups Melvin Gordon and Jeff Lewis recorded a touchdown. Phillips didn’t have to do much, but he was poised and most importantly didn’t make any mistakes. The defense continued to do what they do as they held Indiana to their lowest point-total of the season and only 294 total yards.
Player of the Game: Montee Ball (27 carries for 198 yards and three touchdowns)
Ball scored three touchdowns (77 career TDs), surpassing Ricky Williams (Texas) for second on the NCAA’s all-time touchdown list. With just two more scores, Ball will break the record held by Miami of Ohio’s Travis Prentice. He may not be Heisman worthy, but the Doak Walker Award Finalist does have six games of 100+ yards and 16 total touchdowns this season.
Highlight of the Game: Ball’s roommate and good friend, White, had a pair of touchdowns that were just electric. The first came right before halftime when he broke off a 69 yard scamper to break open the game for the Badgers. Another came in the fourth quarter on a 50 yard touchdown. Ball doesn’t have chance at the Heisman this year, but does White in 2013?
Stat of the Game (7): The amount of passes attempted by Phillips. Of those seven, he completed only four. Everyone in the country knew the Badgers were going to run, but it leaves you wondering if a similar gameplan will work against much better defenses going forward.
What’s Next: The schedule gets a bit tougher with undefeated Ohio State (10-0) coming to Camp Randall. OSU will be coming off their bye week and will have had an entire extra week to prepare for the Badgers run game. Wisconsin hasn’t had a lot of success against good teams this season, going 2-3 against projected bowl teams. A win against Ohio State would help the nation determine if they’re really primed for a return trip to Pasadena.
What did you think of the Badgers big win over Indiana? Are they the real deal or do you still have questions? Let me know by commenting below.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
James White (jsonline.com)
Locker Room (Wisconsin Football Facebook Page)Follow paulmbanks