MADISON, Wis. -- Unable to run early, No. 11 Wisconsin simply turned to quarterback Allan Evridge's passing and went on for an easy victory over Marshall.
The Badgers (2-0) were down 14-0 and finding it tough to run the ball against the Thundering Herd. So Evridge took over and completed 17-of-26 for 308 yards and a touchdown in a 51-14 win.
"We wanted to see if he could throw the football," Marshall coach Mark Snyder said. "And he did."
Last week, P.J. Hill ran for 210 yards in a victory over Akron but ended up with 57 yards against Marshall (1-1).
Evridge, a transfer from Kansas State who backed up Tyler Donovan last year, threw only 10 passes against Akron -- including a couple of shaky throws in the red zone, one of which was intercepted.
"Anytime a quarterback has to hand the ball off 40, 50 times in their opener, everybody's going to say, 'Well, can he throw it?'" Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said.
The victory extended Wisconsin's home winning streak to 16 games, second-longest in major college football behind Oklahoma. More important, it gives the Badgers momentum heading into a game at Fresno State next Saturday.
"We came out flat, and realized they came out to play," linebacker DeAndre Levy said. "You think about 14-0, it's time to do something. We can't come out that flat against a team. Better teams will finish us off."
Wisconsin led only 17-14 at halftime, but ended Marshall's first three possessions of the second half with interceptions that led to a pair of touchdowns.
"You come into an environment like this, you can't start the second half with three turnovers," Snyder said. "You just can't do it. We talked about not blinking, and we felt like we blinked a little bit."
Facing third-and-11 in the first series of the third quarter, Badgers cornerback Niles Brinkley intercepted Marshall quarterback Mark Cann. Evridge then connected with tight end Garrett Graham on a 21-yard pass, and Hill plunged into the end zone to put Wisconsin ahead 24-14. Despite being slowed down by Marshall's defense, Hill still finished the afternoon with a pair of touchdowns.
Safety Shane Carter intercepted Cann on Marshall's next possession, and Evridge hit Graham for a touchdown.
"It was bad throws and bad reads that have to be fixed," Cann said. "I credit Wisconsin's defense. They got after it. We hit them big. I don't know if we woke them up or not but they played tougher as the game went on."
Brian Anderson replaced Cann, but Brinkley picked off his second pass of the game. The Thundering Herd forced a fumble by Evridge to fend off another scoring drive, but any thoughts of an upset had evaporated.
"That's a good football team," Bielema said of Marshall. "Physically, they look like they belong out there."
Marshall held Wisconsin to 25 yards of total offense and a single first down in the first quarter, taking a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by Chubb Small.
"We can't have a first quarter like we had today against a Big Ten team," center John Moffitt said.
Marshall continued to execute its no-huddle offense as a late-arriving crowd paid more attention to doing "the wave" than trying to disrupt play calls by making noise. Marshall's 10-play drive ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Darius Marshall to go ahead 14-0.
Wisconsin appeared to be in big trouble after running back John Clay barely recovered his own fumble on the Badgers' next possession. But Evridge completed a 36-yard pass to Lance Kendricks, setting up a 2-yard touchdown run by Hill.
Long passes from Evridge helped set up two more Wisconsin scores, a 45-yard field goal by Philip Welch and 3-yard touchdown run by Zach Brown to put the Badgers ahead by three at halftime.
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