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Windy City blowout: Badgers blast Northern Illinois, 49-7


7 Wisconsin 49, Northern Illinois 7
Soldier Field • Chicago, Ill.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
14 14 14 7 49
 Northern Illinois
7 0 0 0 7
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Postgame Analysis
• Lucas' Last Word: Full arsenal on display in rout
• Mason: Badger Bits - Wisconsin vs. Northern Illinois

 Statistical Leaders
 • Rushing: Montee Ball - 20 Car, 91 Yds, 2 TD
 • Passing: Russell Wilson - 23-32, 347 Yds, 3 TD
 • Receiving: Nick Toon - 5 Rec, 75 Yds, 2 TD
 • Defense: Chris Borland - 11 Tkl, 2.0 TFL
 Scoring Summary
 First Quarter
WIS 12:55 Toon 12 TD pass from Wilson (French kick)
NIU 1:59 Hopkins 3 TD run (Sims kick) 
WIS 0:57 Toon 16 TD pass from Wilson (French kick) 
 Second Quarter
WIS 8:53 Ball 1 TD run (French kick)
WIS 1:52 White 20 TD run (French kick) 
 Third Quarter
WIS 11:15 Ball 1 TD run (French kick)
NIU 6:23 Pedersen 9 TD pass from Wilson (French)
 Fourth Quarter
WIS 3:34 Brennan 6 TD run (French kick)
 Stats at a Glance
 • First Downs 34 11
 • Total Offensive Yards 621 237
 • Passing Yards 355 173
 • Rushing Yards 266 64
 • Penalties-Yards 6-45 3-81
 • Turnovers 1 0
 • Punts-Avg. 1-36.0 9-34.3
 • Punt Returns-Avg. 1-1.0 0-0.0
 • Kick Returns-Avg. 2-9.0 4-20.2
 • 3rd-Down Conversions 10-14 4-13
 • 4th-Down Conversions 0-0 0-0
 • Time of Possession 35:50 22:05
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Sept. 17, 2011

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CHICAGO (AP) -- Russell Wilson threw for 347 yards and three scores, Montee Ball rushed for another two touchdowns and No. 7 Wisconsin piled up more than 600 yards of total offense Saturday in a 49-7 rout of Northern Illinois at Soldier Field.

Ball finished with 91 yards on 18 carries, James White added 100 yards and another score, and Nick Toon had two touchdown catches for the Badgers (3-0), who have won 31 straight against non-conference opponents in the regular season.

 Fast Facts
• Wilson throws for 347 yards, 3 touchdowns
• Badgers roll up 621 offensive yards in rout
• Ball runs for 2 scores, Toon has 2 TD catches
• Borland leads defense with 11 tackles, 2 TFLs

It was an unwelcome "homecoming" for Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren, who spent the last five years in Madison as the Badgers' defensive coordinator.

The only blemish for the Badgers was Wilson's interception in the third quarter, the first turnover of the season for Wisconsin. That paled in comparison to Wilson's prolific 23-for-32 passing performance. He threw for 347 yards -- the seventh-best total in UW history -- and tallied three touchdowns.

Wilson accounted for 384 total yards, a total that ranks as the fifth-highest total offense total in school annals.

"I tell you, Russell Wilson was looking like the guy," UW head coach Bret Bielema said. "He knows the plan that we have and he is going to stick to it, but he will adapt and he is very creative.

"If there is a better guy out there, I would like to see him because he is an exceptional football player."

While the offense was racking more than 600 yards, the Badgers' defense responded with an equally impressive effort. UW limited the Huskies to 237 total yards -- including just 64 on the ground.

Sophomore linebacker Chris Borland -- who disrupted NIU's passing game by lining up as a rush end on third downs -- led the effort with a game-high 11 tackles, including a pair of tackles-for-loss.

Jasmin Hopkins scored the only touchdown for the Huskies, who fell to 4-27 against Top 25 teams.

Wisconsin now has one last warmup before its much anticipated Oct. 1 game against new Big Ten member Nebraska at Camp Randall. UW will face South Dakota at 2:30 p.m. next Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium.

The numbers were hardly in Northern Illinois' favor coming into the game. Northern Illinois (1-2) had only beaten the Badgers once in their previous 12 games.

But Northern Illinois did manage to make things interesting for about three minutes at the end of the first quarter.

Hurt by penalties for a chop block and false start, Wisconsin was forced to settle for a 50-yard field goal try. Kyle French's kick sailed wide right.

The Huskies put together their best drive of the day, with Chandler Harnish completing passes of 20 yards to Nathan Palmer and another of 39 yards to Ashford to set up a 3-yard run by Hopkins that tied the game at 7 with 1:59 left in the first quarter. Hoping to build on their momentum, the Huskies went for the onside kick.

But the Badgers recovered, and Wilson put a quick end to any hopes the Huskies had for the upset. He needed only three passes to give Wisconsin the lead again, connecting with Toon for the 16-yard score, then moved the Badgers 97 yards on their next drive after they'd been pinned to their own 3.

With the offensive line giving Wilson what seemed like hours to throw, he took his time until he spotted Jacob Pedersen sprinting up the left side of the field, hitting him in stride for a 55-yard gain that took Wisconsin to the 2-yard line. Two plays later, Ball ran from a yard in to give Wisconsin a 21-7 lead.

Ball has now scored in nine straight games, and has 22 touchdowns since last Oct. 23.

Not to be outdone, backfield mate White scored on Wisconsin's next drive. Wilson turned what should have been a sack into an 11-yard gain, and White scored two plays later on a 20-yard run, getting help from a great block by offensive lineman Peter Konz that allowed White to turn the corner and get outside.

It was White's second touchdown of the season.

Ball got right back to work, however, finishing off a nine-play, 78-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge at the 11:15 mark of the third quarter. That made it 35-7, Badgers.

As easy as that drive appeared to be for the Badgers, nothing came easier than Wilson's third TD pass of the day. UW marched 79 yards on seven plays, the last of which was a 9-yard pass from Wilson that settled gently into Pedersen's arms in the middle of the end zone. There wasn't an NIU defender within 5 yards of Pedersen in any direction.

Backup quarterback Joe Brennan finished off the Badgers' scoring with a 6-yard TD run in the game's waning moments. He converted the score with 3:34 left in the game to provide the final margin.

Northern Illinois got to the Wisconsin 25 just before halftime. But Mathew Sims' field goal attempt was wide right and the Huskies never came close to scoring again. In fact, they got past midfield just once in the second half.

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