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
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
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
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
"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
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.