2010 Wisconsin Badgers Football
Wisconsin Badgers vs Northwestern Wildcats Football Recap
Wisconsin 70, Northwestern 23
Yes, Bucky Badger locked up a share of the Big Ten title with a blowout win over Northwestern at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison. Wisconsin put up 70 points for the third time this season. The Badgers’ 83-20 win over Indiana was the highest point total put up by a Big Ten team since 1950, but by comparison, this win over Northwestern seemed tame and muted by comparison. Strange days, but true.
Still without senior running back John Clay, the Badgers again turned to sophomore Montee Ball, who ran for 178 yards and four touchdowns. Freshman James White added 134 yards and a touchdown. It was Ball who ran for two touchdowns in the first 3:58 of the game. He added a third touchdown early in the second quarter to give Wisconsin a 21-3 lead.
Then the onslaught continued against Coach Pat Fitzgerald’s outmanned team, which was competing in Madison without star quarterback Dan Persa. Wisconsin had to make an impression on voters in this game because the BCS standings decide a three-team Big Ten tiebreak in which there are no universally-shared head-to-head results. Because Michigan State did not play Ohio State this year, the conference didn’t find a clear method by which to decide a three-team tie involving Wisconsin, MSU, and OSU. The league’s member coaches voted 10-1 to use the BCS standings, with – interestingly enough – Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio being the lone dissenting vote. At any rate, Wisconsin – which led Ohio State by one ranking slot entering Saturday – needed to keep its foot on the throttle to stay ahead of the Buckeyes and punch a ticket to Pasadena.
Mission accomplished in Madison.
The passing game got rolling for UW in the second quarter, when quarterback Scott Tolzien found David Gilreath, Lance Kendricks, and Nick Toon for touchdowns. Toon’s second touchdown reception, Tolzien’s fourth touchdown throw of the quarter, gave the Badgers a 49-17 lead with 14 seconds left in the first half. Ball and White took turns scoring back-to-back third-quarter touchdowns to give Wisconsin a 63-17 lead. The rout was on, and the BCS standings-based Rose Bowl berth was secure.
Northwestern turned the ball over seven times. Quarterback Evan Watkins, a freshman filling in for the injured Persa, threw three interceptions. Freshman Kain Coulter attempted three passes, with no completions and an interception.
Wisconsin did not commit a turnover. Tolzien finished with 230 yards passing and four touchdowns. Wisconsin outgained Northwestern 559-284.
Now, it’s “Hello, Pasadena!” for Coach Bret Bielema’s bunch. The Badgers will now get ready for The Granddaddy of Them All.