2011 Wisconsin Badgerrs Football

Big Ten football fans

Wisconsin Badgers vs UNLV Rebels Football Recap

Wisconsin 51, UNLV 17


It’s only one game, but the Wisconsin Badgers looked plenty good in their 2011 debut. The favorite in the Big Ten Conference put its foot down against a weak foe, displaying the full range of its talents in a contest that had the feel of a scrimmage at times.

The UNLV Rebels were the lamb led to slaughter in America’s Dairyland. The Rebs had hopes to compete with Wisconsin, but Russell Wilson and the Badgers had other ideas. Montee Ball powered the Wisconsin offense to an opening-drive score, and it was all Badgers the rest of the night. In his first game as the new Badger quarterback, Wilson led his team to a 51-17 victory over the Rebels in Camp Randall Stadium on Thursday night in Madison, Wisconsin.

UW scored a touchdown on each of its first four possessions while UNLV battled a combination of sputtering offense and missed field goals. By the time the Rebels got on the board with a field goal mid-way through the second quarter, Wisconsin had a 27-3 lead. Wilson was a snapshot of quarterback efficiency, ending the night 10-13 with 255 yards and two touchdowns. Despite only completing 10 passes, Wilson connected with seven different receivers. He also pitched in 62 rushing yards in a balanced effort for the Badgers. James White and Montee Ball each added 64 and 63 yards on the ground, respectively. When the night was over, the Badgers had amassed 241 rushing yards to 258 passing yards.

UNLV should not be without hope; it was no secret the Rebels would be greatly overmatched. Sophomore quarterback Caleb Herring fared well against a BCS opponent, going 18-27 for 146 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Michael Johnson led the Rebels with 51 yards on seven catches. The run game also showed some promise for the Rebels as they broke out a rushing scheme from the pistol, a new addition from last season. Bradley Randle (12 carries, 65 yards) and Tim Cornett (14 carries, 61 yards) split the rushing duties for UNLV. What Vegas must address, however, is a defense that got pushed around until Wisconsin put in second-stringers and generally stepped off the gas pedal. UNLV got blown out of the water in one half on Thursday. It will need to play 60 complete minutes in the Mountain West Conference just to stay close with a number of quality opponents. This is a call to arms that UNLV must be able to answer. Otherwise, the tenure of second-year coach Bobby Hauck will fail to get off the ground in the Nevada desert.

Up next for UNLV is a date in Pullman, Washington to take on Washington State, while Wisconsin hosts Oregon State.


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By: Matt Zemek
DFN Sports Senior Staff Writer