Scores

Final

N Illinois 20

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Wisconsin 28

(1-0, 1-0 home)

Coverage: BTN

7:00 PM ET, September 5, 2009

Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI

1 2 3 4 T
NIU 3 3 0 1420
WIS 7 7 14 028

Top Performers

Passing: S. Tolzien (WIS) - 257 YDS, 1 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: J. Clay (WIS) - 15 CAR, 43 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: I. Anderson (WIS) - 3 REC, 100 YDS, 1 TD

Anderson, Wisconsin hold off Northern Illinois 

Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. -- Wide receiver Isaac Anderson caught a pass for a touchdown and ran for another, and Wisconsin held off a late Northern Illinois rally to escape with a 28-20 victory Saturday night at Camp Randall Stadium.

New starting quarterback Scott Tolzien threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Anderson on the first offensive play for the Badgers (1-0).

The Badgers led 28-6 going into the fourth quarter, but a pair of late touchdowns by the Huskies (0-1), plus a two-point conversion, cut the lead to 8 with 2:47 remaining. Northern Illinois recovered an onside kick but couldn't convert on fourth-and-3 at Wisconsin's 36-yard line.

It was another shaky victory for a Big Ten team over a non-BCS conference opponent on the first weekend of play.

The Huskies, of the Mid-American Conference, drove for a touchdown, capped by Chad Spann's 1-yard scoring run with 8:29 remaining. Northern Illinois then missed a two-point conversion attempt.

But Tolzien threw an interception deep in Badgers territory and Northern Illinois scored again. The Huskies' drive was kept alive when officials ruled that quarterback Chandler Harnish's forward progress was halted before he lost the ball on third-and-goal, and the Huskies also benefited from a pass interference call in the end zone on the next play. Spann then scored on a 2-yard run.

Spann also recovered the onside kick, giving the Huskies a chance to tie on a touchdown and two-point conversion in the final 2:46. But safety Chris Maragos broke up a pass on fourth-and-3 to seal the win for Wisconsin.

Northern Illinois struggled to stop Wisconsin without last year's defensive star, Larry English, who was selected in the first round of the NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers.

Tolzien was 15 of 20 for 257 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, occasionally alternating with redshirt freshman Curt Phillips. Running back John Clay scored a pair of third-quarter touchdowns for the Badgers.

On the Badgers' first play from scrimmage, Tolzien found Anderson wide open down the right sideline for an 80-yard touchdown. On their next possession, Tolzien hit Anderson with passes on back-to-back plays before handing off to him on an end-around play that caught the Huskies' defense napping. Anderson dodged a last-ditch tackle attempt on the left sideline for a 23-yard touchdown run and a 14-3 Wisconsin lead.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ESPNChicago.com 

Team Stat Comparison

 
NIU
WIS
1st Downs1621
Total Yards274433
Passing174281
Rushing100152
Penalties3-266-56
3rd Down Conversions3-127-12
4th Down Conversions0-10-0
Turnovers13
Possession30:1429:46

Passing Leaders

Northern IllinoisC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Harnish15/241747.300
WisconsinC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Tolzien15/2025712.912

Rushing Leaders

Northern IllinoisCARYDSAVGTDLG
Brown11645.8047
Spann9202.228
WisconsinCARYDSAVGTDLG
Brown14513.6011
Clay15432.927

Receiving Leaders

Northern IllinoisRECYDSAVGTDLG
Skarb34214.0031
Beckner24120.5027
WisconsinRECYDSAVGTDLG
Anderson310033.3180
Graham68213.7019

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERNIUWIS
TD11:30Isaac Anderson 80 Yd Pass From Scott Tolzien (Philip Welch Kick) 07
FG03:15Mike Salerno 40 Yd 37
SECOND QUARTERNIUWIS
TD14:52Isaac Anderson 23 Yd Run (Philip Welch Kick) 314
FG09:36Mike Salerno 29 Yd 614
THIRD QUARTERNIUWIS
TD09:15John Clay 1 Yd Run (Philip Welch Kick) 621
TD01:47John Clay 1 Yd Run (Philip Welch Kick) 628
FOURTH QUARTERNIUWIS
TD08:29Chad Spann 1 Yd Run (Two-Point Conversion Failed) 1228
TD02:47Chad Spann 2 Yd Run (Chandler Harnish Run For Two-Point Conversion) 2028