Scores

Final

Northwestern 23

(7-5, 3-5 Big Ten)

(5) Wisconsin 70

(11-1, 7-1 Big Ten)

Coverage: ABC/ESPN

3:30 PM ET, November 27, 2010

Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI

1 2 3 4 T
NW 3 14 6 023
#5WIS 14 35 21 070

Top Performers

Passing: S. Tolzien (WIS) - 230 YDS, 4 TD

Rushing: M. Ball (WIS) - 20 CAR, 178 YDS, 4 TD

Receiving: N. Toon (WIS) - 5 REC, 62 YDS, 2 TD

Badgers blast Northwestern for share of Big Ten crown

Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. -- Another week, another jaw-dropping blowout for Wisconsin (No. 7 BCS, No. 5 AP).

This one earned the Badgers a share of the Big Ten title.

And with the Big Ten's Rose Bowl representative still to be determined, it remains to be seen if their recent run of scoreboard-scorching victories will be sufficient.

Wisconsin routed Northwestern 70-23 at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday, and will split the conference championship three ways after Ohio State and Michigan State won earlier in the day.

"From Day 1 since I got here, that's all anybody's been talking about, the Rose Bowl, the Rose Bowl, the Rose Bowl," said Badgers safety Aaron Henry, twirling a rose in his hand. "And you have to be a Big Ten champion in order to get that spot in the Rose Bowl, and we definitely took care of that tonight."

The Badgers (11-1, 7-1 Big Ten) appear to have the inside track on the Rose Bowl, which will be determined by the Bowl Championship Series standings. Fans chanted "Rose Bowl" in the final seconds of the game, then rushed the field as fireworks exploded over the stadium.

No. 8 Ohio State beat Michigan on Saturday, and Michigan State (No. 10 BCS, No. 11 AP) won at Penn State. Wisconsin came into this week leading both teams in the BCS rankings.

Wisconsin certainly is doing its best to impress voters in recent weeks.

Its victory Saturday made it four straight by 20 points or more -- and it wasn't even the most lopsided game in that stretch, because Wisconsin beat Indiana 83-20 on Nov. 13. And it was the third time this season the Badgers scored 70 points or more.

Nationally, Bielema has earned some criticism for running up the score during the Badgers' recent run -- but given the chance to score one last touchdown on Saturday, Wisconsin instead ran out the clock inside the Northwestern 10-yard line in the final two minutes of the game.

Bielema was confident his team is Rose Bowl-bound.

"I really believe that right now, the way we're playing," Bielema said. "We're playing as well as anybody in the country."

Montee Ball rushed for 178 yards and four touchdowns for the Badgers. Scott Tolzien was 15 of 19 for 230 yards and four touchdowns, including a pair to wide receiver Nick Toon.

It was also a dominant game by standout defensive end J.J. Watt, who forced two fumbles and made a big hit that caused an interception. Watt even blocked a Northwestern extra point try in the third quarter, leaving the crowd chanting his name.

"We needed to bring a title back to Wisconsin, and that's exactly what we did," Watt said. "And we couldn't be happier. ... Enjoy it tonight, because I know I'm going to."

Wisconsin's only scare came when tight end Lance Kendricks landed awkwardly on the ball after catching a 29-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter. After lying on the turf for several minutes surrounded by the team's medical staff, Kendricks was able to get up and walk to the locker room with assistance.

Venric Mark returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown for Northwestern (7-5, 3-5 Big Ten), returning nine kickoffs a total of 273 yards.

"When I took it back to the house, I thought they weren't going to kick it to me [again]," Mark said. "Then they kept kicking it to me and I found that highly disrespectful."

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said Saturday's loss wasn't a step backward for the program.

"No, we lost a football game today," Fitzgerald said. "We have two freshman quarterbacks playing their second game. We turned the ball over on the road against a team that won the Big Ten championship. That's not a step backwards, it's a loss."

Already without quarterback Dan Persa because of an Achilles tendon injury, Northwestern also was missing top running back Mike Trumpy because of a wrist injury.

The Wildcats split time at quarterback between Evan Watkins and Kain Colter.

Stopping Wisconsin clearly was going to be a challenge for Northwestern's defense, which gave up 519 yards rushing in a loss to Illinois at Wrigley Field last week.

Fitzgerald said his team would have had a tough time beating anybody with four interceptions and three lost fumbles, let alone a conference champion.

"I'm very disappointed in our effort at taking care of the football," Fitzgerald said. "That's the No. 1 objective of the game and we didn't do that. You give a good football team a short field, you give a good football team momentum at home, and you pretty much beat yourself."

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NW
WIS
1st Downs1729
Total Yards284559
Passing123230
Rushing161329
Penalties2-172-25
3rd Down Conversions4-125-11
4th Down Conversions0-00-0
Turnovers70
Possession22:4537:15

Passing Leaders

NorthwesternC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Watkins13/221235.613
WisconsinC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Tolzien15/1923012.140

Rushing Leaders

NorthwesternCARYDSAVGTDLG
Simmons12554.6012
Watkins7344.9121
WisconsinCARYDSAVGTDLG
Ball201788.9444
White201346.7122

Receiving Leaders

NorthwesternRECYDSAVGTDLG
Ebert34314.3025
Stewart4297.3011
WisconsinRECYDSAVGTDLG
Kendricks48020.0130
Gilreath47518.8140

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERNWWIS
TD12:30Montee Ball 32 Yd Run (Philip Welch Kick) 07
TD08:02Montee Ball 1 Yd Run (Philip Welch Kick) 014
FG02:55Stefan Demos 47 Yd 314
SECOND QUARTERNWWIS
TD12:35Montee Ball 2 Yd Run (Philip Welch Kick) 321
TD09:03David Gilreath 18 Yd Pass From Scott Tolzien (Philip Welch Kick) 328
TD05:50Evan Watkins 6 Yd Run (Stefan Demos Kick) 1028
TD03:14Lance Kendricks 29 Yd Pass From Scott Tolzien (Philip Welch Kick) 1035
TD01:33Nick Toon 11 Yd Pass From Scott Tolzien (Philip Welch Kick) 1042
TD01:20Venric Mark 94 Yd Kickoff Return (Stefan Demos Kick) 1742
TD00:14Nick Toon 11 Yd Pass From Scott Tolzien (Philip Welch Kick) 1749
THIRD QUARTERNWWIS
TD10:18Montee Ball 44 Yd Run (Philip Welch Kick) 1756
TD06:09James White 16 Yd Run (Philip Welch Kick) 1763
TD04:11Drake Dunsmore 20 Yd Pass From Evan Watkins (Pat Blocked) 2363
TD00:02Aaron Henry 50 Yd Interception Return (Philip Welch Kick) 2370

Research Notes

The school counts its modern era as "since 1946." Well, their three highest scoring games, against any team at any time in that era, have come this season. Prior to this year, they hadn't score more than 70 points in ANY game in that span. This year, they did it three times.
  [+]

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