It may not have been 83 points like last year, but no one can complain about 59.
The Wisconsin football team continued to dominate as its offense, defense and special teams all scored in a 59-7 win over Indiana Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium, moving to 6-0 in the process.
With a 52-point margin of victory, Wisconsin gained a total of 524 yards – 192 through the air, 332 on the ground – and forced two interceptions.
Quarterback Russell Wilson continued to strengthen his Heisman campaign, throwing 12-17 for 166 yards and one touchdown. He had two scrambles for 42 yards and even received a touchdown pass from running back Montee Ball.
At the beginning of the second quarter the Badgers were steadily moving down the field. On 2nd-and-6 from the Indiana 25-yard line, Wilson pitched the ball out to Ball, who, instead of attempting to run in to the endzone, watched Wilson roll down the field by the Indiana sideline and lobbed it up to the transfer quarterback, who waltzed it in for a touchdown.
The offense had practiced the schoolyard play in practice, and according to head coach Bret Bielema, Ball’s pass was the worst of the week.
“It’s true, it was terrible,” Ball said. “He was wide open and I was nervous. I was nervous when I let the ball go, but he did a great job tracking it down. I knew it was going to work, but I just know I have terrible form.”
Ball also had a big day, taking the majority of the carries for UW. With 14 carries, he picked up a net total of 142 yards and three touchdowns on the ground and one passing.
Both Wilson and Ball have now scored touchdowns passing, receiving and running this season.
“He’s got great athletic ability, obviously you’ve seen that,” wide receiver Jared Abbrederis said of Wilson. “He can throw it, run it, catch it. He’s a good player.”
With wide receiver Nick Toon sitting out due to a foot injury sustained against Nebraska, Abbrederis stepped into the leading role in the passing game.
While he finished the game with a 39-yard completion and three more receptions for a total of 63 yards, Abbrederis’ biggest play of the game was a punt return.
Abbrederis had a punt return for a touchdown earlier this season that was called back due to a penalty, but this time his unit gave him a clean chance as he weaved his way into the endzone for the Badgers’ sixth touchdown of the game.
“I’ve really wanted to get [Jared Abbrederis] to return,” Bielema said. “He’s pretty special. … We thought that that big field return was going to be there if we could finally get one caught without traffic. Abby did a nice job doing that.”
“He’s just got a little bit of a knack to see the big field. He’s got tremendous vision and I think he gets a little bit of the benefit of people don’t think that a white guy can run … all of sudden he’s behind everybody,” he added.
To Abbrederis, the return simply boiled down to a strong team effort.
“Our punt return team is doing a really good job setting that wall,” Abbrederis said. “I didn’t really have to do much until about the 15-yard line when the punter was there. Credit to the punt return team and all the blocks that they made because without them, it wouldn’t have been possible. I was able to make a couple moves and get into the endzone.”
Just when the onslaught seemed to come to an end as UW put in its second-stringers for the fourth quarter, the defense got in on the fun.
Nortman, on his fifth punt of the game, backed IU up on its own one-yard line with the help of cornerback Antonio Fenelus. On second and nine from the two, Wisconsin forced a fumble and freshman linebacker Derek Landisch landed on the ball in the endzone for a touchdown.
“I think that was a great statement,” Fenelus said. “That was the first touchdown on defense that we had all year and [co-defensive coordinator Chris] Ash was definitely excited about that, but we still have a long way to go.”