MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- P.J. Hill ran for 184 yards and two touchdowns as Wisconsin went back to its power running game in a 44-3 victory Saturday over Northern Illinois to snap a two-game losing skid.
Hill, a sophomore, reached the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight season in his best performance since a career-high 249 yards against Northwestern last year.
Wisconsin (6-2) won its 12th straight at home and handed the Huskies (1-7) their worst loss in nine years after dropping back-to-back games on the road to Illinois and Penn State.
Once ranked fifth in the nation and a favorite to win the Big Ten, Wisconsin is now just a long shot for the conference crown with games left against No. 1 Ohio State and No. 24 Michigan.
The Badgers finally put together a complete game after defensive lapses and turnovers cost them their national ranking after a 5-0 start.
On Wisconsin's opening possession, Tyler Donovan found Garrett Graham for a 25-yard touchdown pass to cap a nine-play drive. On the Badgers' next offensive play, Hill broke a career-long 72-yard run to make it 14-0. Hill, who had 21 carries, has scored at least one touchdown in 17 of his 21 career games.
Ninth on the school's all-time rushing list, he surpassed the 2,500-yard plateau for his career on the last carry of the first quarter, a 7-yard effort.
The Badgers made it 21-0 on the first play of the second quarter when fullback Chris Pressley scored his first career touchdown from 10 yards out.
Wisconsin scored again on Lance Smith's 9-yard TD run midway through the second quarter. When the Huskies got the ball back, the Badgers had outgained them 226-1 at that point.
Northern Illinois, losers of four straight, suffered its worst defeat since a 73-7 setback at Kansas State in 1998 and didn't get a first down until just over a minute to play in the first half.
Shane Carter had two interceptions for the Badgers, the second coming early in the second half to set up Hill's 1-yard TD run that made it 38-0.
It was 41-0 when Chris Nendick hit a 34-yard field goal to give the Huskies their only points.
Justin Anderson, the nation's ninth leading rusher with five straight 100-yard games for the Huskies, had 14 yards on 13 carries. Wisconsin gained 331 yards on 55 carries, compared to minus 13 yards on 18 carries for Northern Illinois.
The Huskies also lost running back Ricky Crider on the game's first play when he broke his left leg covering the kickoff and was taken off in an ambulance. Northern Illinois has had 13 starters and 20 players on the depth chart miss at least one game due to injury. Eight of those are out for the season.