In a year with more than its fair shares of ups and downs, the Badgers went back to their bread and butter to get back to the conference title game, racking up a school-record 564 rushing yards in a 62-14 blowout over Indiana at Memorial Stadium Saturday.
After being stymied against Michigan State two weeks ago, Montee Ball was rested and productive, rushing for 198 yards on 27 carries and three touchdowns. His three scores tie Ron Dayne for the conference's all-time rushing touchdown mark and put him within one score of tying the NCAA record of 78.
Junior James White chipped in with 161 yards on 14 carries and two scores, both on runs over 50 yards, Melvin Gordon rushed for 96 yards and a score and junior Jeff Lewis scored his second collegiate touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Even senior Curt Phillips got into the act, rushing for 68 yards and completed his first collegiate touchdown in the first quarter, helping the UW offense rack up 605 total yards.
While the rushing attack led the headlines, Wisconsin (7-3, 4-2 Big Ten) held Indiana (4-6, 2-4) to 294 total yards, 61 rushing yards and forced three turnovers.
The victory gives Wisconsin the tiebreaker with every eligible team in the watered down Leaders Division, assuring the Badgers it will play have a chance to play for a third straight conference championship and a chance to be the first team since the 1979 Michigan team to play in three straight Rose Bowls.
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8 plays, 69 yards, 3:54 TOP, 9:50 left
Montee Ball 10-yard run (Kyle French kick)
Key Play: On third and 2 from the 31, Montee Ball got great seals on the left side of the line and a great iso block from fullback Derek Watt, opening a large gap for Ball to get a 21-yard gain. He scored on the next play.
8 plays, 69 yards, 4:43 TOP, 3:52 left
Sam Arneson 2-yard pass from Curt Phillips (Kyle French kick)
Key Play: Wisconsin is fully utilizing senior Ricky Wagner being back on the field. On second-and-4 on Indiana 40, White followed a huge seem set because of Wagner and Ryan Groy sealing their assignments to the inside. The result was a 23-yard gain to the Indiana 17.
8 plays, 59 yards, 3:54 TOP, 14:16 left
FG Kyle French 24
Key Play: Knowing full well Indiana came back from 14 points down at home last week to beat Iowa, the Badgers are leaving no doubt early. On the first two plays of the drive, Ball had a carry for 17 yards and Jared Abbrederis had a rush for 18.
5 plays, 75 yards, 2:12 TOP, :13 left
James White 69-yard run (Kyle French kick)
Key Play: Appearing to simply run out the clock, White's inside handoff was a thing of beauty. Originally running to the right, White cut back to the middle, made one defender miss, found a seam between four players and hit the jets.
11 plays, 75 yards, 6:11 TOP, 8:49 left
Montee Ball 1-yard run (Kyle French kick)
Key Play: Deciding to go for the first down on fourth-and-2 deep in Indiana territory, Wisconsin faked an inside handoff and Curt Phillips, despite getting hit hard on the play, found Derek Watt open in the flat for an eight-yard gain to the Indiana 13.
2 plays, 60 yards, :41 TOP, 7:20 left
Montee Ball 49-yard run (Kyle French kick)
Key Play: Indiana's rush defense was ranked 107th in the country heading into this weekend. It has taken a huge hit Saturday, as Ball was virtually untouched running between the tackles.
7 plays, 50 yards, 4:17 TOP, 2:11 left
FG Kyle French 37
Key Play: On a designed QB draw on third-and-2, Robert Griffin III ... err, Curt Phillips found an open lane and rushed 52 yards, stiff arming a defender before being brought down on the 10-yard line.
14 plays, 87 yards, 3:18 TOP, 13:53 left
Kofi Hughes 7-yard pass from Cameron Coffman (Mitch Ewald kick)
Key Play: It's hard to tell which play hurt Wisconsin more - the 13-yard pass completion on third-and-10 on Indiana's 31 or the 26-yard completion on the next play. Either way, the Hoosiers finally put together a solid drive, but it's too little too late.
5 plays, 75 yards, 3:19 TOP, 10:34 left
James White 50-yard run (Kyle French kick)
Key Play: Wisconsin ran the ball. It's a formula that has worked like clockwork all game long.
4 plays, 33 yards, 1:58 TOP, 7:38 left
Melvin Gordon 17-yard run (Jack Russell kick)
Key Play: Devin Smith's interception and long return put Wisconsin's offense in prime position to rub more salt in the wounds.
2 plays, 11 yards, :46 TOP, 3:50 left
Jeff Lewis 6-yard run (Jack Russell kick)
Key Play: Conor O'Neill jumped a sideline pass for the interception and returned it 53 yards down the sideline, setting up another Wisconsin score.
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