12:00 PM ET, October 1, 2005
Camp Randall Stadium, MADISON, WI
MADISON, Wis. -- The 17th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers have more than an awesome ground game. They have Brandon Williams, who has a sudden knack for finding the end zone.
The senior wide receiver who hadn't caught a touchdown pass in nearly two years, had two of them Saturday and also scored on a 63-yard punt return in Wisconsin's 41-24 win over Indiana.
Although Williams had scored on a 66-yard punt return against Temple last month, he hadn't caught a touchdown pass since Oct. 4, 2003, against Penn State.
"It's been a while," Williams said. "I'm just happy to finally get that out of the way."
Jonathan Orr added 128 yards and a touchdown on four receptions, giving the Badgers dual 100-yard receivers for the first time since Oct. 23, 1993, when Lee DeRamus and J.C. Dawkins went over the century mark against Minnesota.
"I really think their game plan was to slow me down and stop me and they did a good job of that," said tailback Brian Calhoun, who rushed 26 times for 101 yards. "But obviously, they took the [fall] when J.O. had over 100 yards receiving and Brandon Williams had a great game, too."
The Badgers (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) won for the 10th straight time at Camp Randall Stadium, their longest home winning streak since reeling off 25 straight from 1900-03. They also denied the Hoosiers (3-1, 0-1) their first 4-0 start in 15 years.
Williams, who had all six of his receptions for 113 yards by halftime, became the fourth player in school history to top 2,000 career yards receiving, the fourth to return two punts for TDs in a season and the first to go over 2,000 career yards in kickoff returns.
With the Badgers' ground game stifled by injuries and a defense determined to crowd the line of scrimmage, John Stocco threw for 274 yards, the second-highest total in his career, and three TDs.
"That's what a balanced attack should be," said Williams, who aggravated a shin injury and didn't play in the fourth quarter.
The Badgers went to the air more than usual, by both design and necessity.
Fullback Matt Bernstein (shoulder) was in street clothes, backup Chris Pressley hurt a foot in the first half and tight end Owen Daniels limped off with a left leg injury after Wisconsin's first play from scrimmage. Plus, the Hoosiers continually brought safeties down to slow Calhoun, who scored his 10th touchdown.
Williams made them pay, catching touchdown passes of 17 and 13 yards, both on third down, sandwiched around his 63-yard TD punt return which helped the Badgers pull away despite glaring mistakes in the defensive backfield and coaching strategy.
"I feel fortunate to win," Badgers coach Barry Alvarez said. "You are very lucky if you don't play well and win. I didn't think we played very well today."
Alvarez was particularly upset by two broken plays in his secondary that led to touchdowns.
Cornerback Brett Bell tripped and no safety was deep when Blake Powers hit James Hardy for an 83-yard touchdown toss on third-and-13 from his own 17, tying the score at 7.
After Williams' scored two more times to make it 24-7, Powers found James Bailey all alone along the right sideline for a 46-yard touchdown after safety Levonne Rowan read the play wrong and left Bailey uncovered.
The Badgers goofed again after Calhoun's 1-yard TD run made it 31-14 with 20 seconds left in the half.
Mehlhaff squibbed the kickoff to the 50 and Powers hit Hardy for 33 yards, setting up Joe Kleinsmith's 34-yard field goal as the half expired.
"I'm going to take the blame on that one ... because I called the swift kick," Alvarez said. "We should have just kicked it deeper. We flat out gave them three points. It's my fault for calling it."
Wisconsin, which hasn't allowed a third-quarter score all season, allowed just a meaningless TD in the closing minutes, a 7-yard catch by Powers, who had seven receptions for 157 yards.
"I still think we can compete with anybody in this league," said Powers, whose 14 TD passes are three shy of Antwaan Randle El's single-season record but weren't enough to keep up with Wisconsin's suddenly potent passing attack.
"I was really excited," Orr said. "In this offense we are asked to block a lot and we don't mind that. But as a receiver, you like to get some of those balls up in the air."
And into the end zone.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Wisconsin's Brandon Williams found the end zone for the third time, this one being a 13-yard TD pass from John Stocco to put the Badgers comfortably up 24-7.
Gameball goes to... Brandon Williams, who had six catches for 113 yards and 2 TDs. He also had a 63-yard punt return for a TD.
Stat of the game... 10-4-03: The last time Brandon Williams caught a TD pass.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-18||5-14|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||0-0|
|TD||8:41||BRANDON WILLIAMS 17 YD PASS FROM JOHN STOCCO (TAYLOR MEHLHAFF KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 72 yards.
|TD||7:48||JAMES HARDY 83 YD PASS FROM BLAKE POWERS (JOE KLEINSMITH KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 80 yards.
|FG||3:38||TAYLOR MEHLHAFF 38 YD FG|
Drive info: 11 plays, 58 yards.
|TD||1:39||BRANDON WILLIAMS 63 YD PUNT RETURN (TAYLOR MEHLHAFF KICK)||7||17|
|TD||14:15||BRANDON WILLIAMS 13 YD PASS FROM JOHN STOCCO (TAYLOR MEHLHAFF KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 27 yards.
|TD||2:54||JAMES BAILEY 46 YD PASS FROM BLAKE POWERS (JOE KLEINSMITH KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 70 yards.
|TD||0:20||BRIAN CALHOUN 1 YD RUN (TAYLOR MEHLHAFF KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 81 yards.
|FG||0:00||JOE KLEINSMITH 34 YD FG|
Drive info: 2 plays, 33 yards.
|FG||7:06||TAYLOR MEHLHAFF 43 YD FG|
Drive info: 4 plays, 8 yards.
|TD||7:06||JONATHAN ORR 22 YD PASS FROM JOHN STOCCO (TAYLOR MEHLHAFF KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||1:22||JAMES HARDY 7 YD PASS FROM BLAKE POWERS (JOE KLEINSMITH KICK)|
Drive info: 17 plays, 73 yards.