2011 Penn State Football
Penn State @ Wisconsin Badgers Football Recap
Wisconsin 45, Penn State 7
The Wisconsin Badgers did not lead their division over the past five weeks, but they rose to the top of the standings by the end of the season, leading their half of the Big Ten Conference when it mattered most. Now, a little bit of revenge can be claimed.
Wisconsin clinched a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game by demolishing the Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday in Madison. Wisconsin will face Michigan State in the inaugural Big Ten title tilt next Saturday in Indianapolis. Michigan State knocked Wisconsin from the ranks of the unbeaten; the Badgers will try to strike back at the Spartans in a battle of the two teams who, alongside Ohio State, shared last year’s Big Ten crown.
Badgers running back Montee Ball ran wild again, piling up 156 yards and four touchdowns. Ball has now scored 34 touchdowns this season, second-most in FBS history behind Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders (39). Ball has become a part of the Heisman Trophy discussion, due to his runaway numbers and consistent week-to-week excellence. However, a purely political reading of the Heisman Trophy race would suggest that Alabama’s Trent Richardson is going to become the running back with the highest number of Heisman votes.
Russell Wilson completed 19 of 29 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns for the Badgers in this game. Wilson has been so markedly shaky away from home this year; Wisconsin went 7-0 at home and 1-0 in neutral-site games, but it went just 2-2 on the road. Playing this game at Camp Randall Stadium gave Wilson the comfort zone he needed to be at his best and shred the Penn State secondary.
The Nittany Lions scored first when Matt McGloin hit Curtis Drake for a 44-yard touchdown, but it was all Wisconsin after that. The Badgers led 28-7 at halftime, and 42-7 after three quarters. Wisconsin rolled up a 450-233 advantage in total yards, and a time-of-possession edge of nearly two to one. Penn State lost three fumbles and turned the ball over four times, a sure way to lose big against a team with a formidable offense, playing on its own home field.
Wisconsin’s first touchdown was a 21-yard pass from Wilson to Jared Abbrederis with 3:32 to play in the first quarter. After a pair of touchdowns by Ball in the second quarter, Wilson would hit Nick Toon for a four-yard touchdown in the final minute of the first half to give the Badgers a 28-7 lead at the break. Ball ran for two more touchdowns in the third quarter to make the blowout complete. Wilson has now thrown a touchdown pass in 36 straight games, tying the FBS record held by Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell.
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