3:30 PM ET, November 27, 2010
Camp Randall Stadium, MADISON, WI
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.
Badgering The Scoreboard
Dating back to 1946, Wisconsin's three highest scoring games ever have come during this season.
|Austin Peay (2010)||70|
|New Mexico (1962)||69|
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.
• Wisconsin will share the Big Ten title with Ohio State and Michigan State. It's the first Big Ten title or co-title for Wisconsin since 1999.
• The Badgers put up 70 points in a game for the third time this season. Prior to this year, Wisconsin hadn't scored 70 points in any game in their modern era (since 1946).
• Wisconsin scored four or more rushing touchdowns for the third straight game and for the sixth time in 12 games this season.
-- ESPN Stats & Information
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."
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."
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."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Montee Ball got off the bus. He single-handedly out-rushed the Wildcats in this rout.
Gameball goes to... Ball, who scored four touchdowns to help the Badgers clinch a share of the Big Ten title.
Stat of the game... 70. Wisconsin scored 70 or more points for the third time this season.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||4-12||5-11|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-0|
|TD||12:30||Montee Ball 32 Yd Run (Philip Welch Kick)||0||7|
|TD||08:02||Montee Ball 1 Yd Run (Philip Welch Kick)||0||14|
|FG||02:55||Stefan Demos 47 Yd||3||14|
|TD||12:35||Montee Ball 2 Yd Run (Philip Welch Kick)||3||21|
|TD||09:03||David Gilreath 18 Yd Pass From Scott Tolzien (Philip Welch Kick)||3||28|
|TD||05:50||Evan Watkins 6 Yd Run (Stefan Demos Kick)||10||28|
|TD||03:14||Lance Kendricks 29 Yd Pass From Scott Tolzien (Philip Welch Kick)||10||35|
|TD||01:33||Nick Toon 11 Yd Pass From Scott Tolzien (Philip Welch Kick)||10||42|
|TD||01:20||Venric Mark 94 Yd Kickoff Return (Stefan Demos Kick)||17||42|
|TD||00:14||Nick Toon 11 Yd Pass From Scott Tolzien (Philip Welch Kick)||17||49|
|TD||10:18||Montee Ball 44 Yd Run (Philip Welch Kick)||17||56|
|TD||06:09||James White 16 Yd Run (Philip Welch Kick)||17||63|
|TD||04:11||Drake Dunsmore 20 Yd Pass From Evan Watkins (Pat Blocked)||23||63|
|TD||00:02||Aaron Henry 50 Yd Interception Return (Philip Welch Kick)||23||70|
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.[+]
Wisconsin Most Points Scored
ESPN Stats & Information