Montee Ball ran for 201 yards and three touchdowns, as Wisconsin rushed for the 539 yards as a team, the most ever allowed in one game by Nebraska, as the Badgers blew out the Huskers 70-31 in the Big Ten title game on Saturday night in Indianapolis, IN.
Melvin Gordon ran for 217 yards and one TD, while James White had 108 yards, four TDs and one TD pass for a team that had lost four games by a touchdown or less including a late September matchup in Lincoln. The Badgers made sure they held onto their lead and not let the Huskers rally in the second half like they had done four previous times this season.
AUDIO Bo Pelini’s post game press conference
The Badgers used a variety of misdirection sweeps to the outside and power running up the middle to rattle off huge plays, as Wisconsin’s offensive line dominated a Husker defensive front that was without leader Baker Steinkuhler. Big gains turned into long plays as the NU secondary was either unable to catch or tackle Badger ball carriers.
Wisconsin’s defense also harassed NU quarterback Taylor Martinez, who turned the ball over three times with two interceptions and a fumble. Martinez got picked off on his first pass attempt of the game and second pass attempt in the third quarter.
After Wisconsin grabbed a 7-0 lead, Kenny Bell had a pass tip off his fingertips into the hands of Marcus Cromartie who raced 29 yards down the sideline giving Wisconsin a 14-0 lead just 2:07 into the game. The second pick came in the third quarter, when Martinez forced a pass into the flat that was picked up off the 29 by Devin Smith, who returned it to the NU 9.
It’s hard to believe Nebraska actually had momentum in this game. Faced with a 3rd and 11 following two penalties, Wisconsin showed a two man front in passing situations. Linebacker Chris Borland came in untouched and flushed Martinez all the way back to his own 11 yard line. In one of the most spectacular runs you will ever see, he made at least four Badgers look foolish as he scrambled to open space in the middle of the field and ran it all the way down for a 76 yard touchdown. After a punt, NU drove again and kicked a field goal closing the game to 14-10 just over 10 minutes into the game.
However, from that point on for the rest of the half, Wisconsin outgained Nebraska 308-54 and scored four touchdowns to take a 42-10 halftime lead.
The Huskers allowed nine plays of 20 yards or more for the game and gave up eight rushing touchdowns.
Wisconsin’s 42 first-half points were the most against Nebraska since Oklahoma scored an opponent-record 49 points in the first half on Nov. 1, 2008. Wisconsin’s 70 points in the game tied for the second-most Nebraska has allowed in school history (also 70 at Kansas, Nov. 3, 2007).
Nebraska will learn its bowl destination on Sunday. The Huskers’ bowl trip will be their 49th all-time bowl appearance.