Nov. 12, 2011
BY KARL ANDERSON
UW Athletic Communications
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- A single incompletion in the third quarter was the only blemish on an otherwise otherworldly afternoon from Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson.
The senior signal-caller was 16-of-17 for 178 yards, and he threw for a season-high four touchdowns in the game. His .941 completion percentage for the game ranks second-best all-time at UW (min. 10 attempts), while his pass efficiency rating of 259.7 is fourth-best (min. 15 attempts). In the first half alone Wilson was a perfect 13-of-13 for 162 yards and three scores.
Wilson set the tone on the first drive of the game as he had to navigate through three third-down situations. Facing a 3rd-and-13, he connected with Jeff Duckworth for 17 yards. Later, on a 3rd-and-2, Wilson handed it off to Montee Ball for a two-yard pickup. On the final third-down situation, a 3rd-and-2 at the Minnesota 5-yard line, Wilson found Ball out of the backfield for a touchdown.
In addition to his TD pass to Ball, Wilson also hooked up twice with Nick Toon on scoring strikes. The first came from nine yards out just six seconds into the second quarter. The second came with just 51 seconds remaining in the first half from 17 yards away. In the third quarter, Wilson found Jacob Pedersen open on a three-yard scoring play.
With his four touchdown passes on the day, Wilson now has 25 on the season, breaking the UW single-season record for TD passes. Wilson also became just the 13th quarterback in FBS history -- and the fifth from a BCS conference -- to pass for at least 100 TDs in a career. He is on pace to become just the fourth quarterback in Big Ten history to throw at least 30 TDs in a season.
Ball sets Big Ten touchdown record
Junior running back Montee Ball has scored at least two touchdowns in every game this season. With three touchdowns against Minnesota, he now has 27 on the season (23 rushing, 4 receiving), which is a Wisconsin and Big Ten single-season record.
Ball started his scoring by hauling in a five-yard pass from Russell Wilson on the game’s opening drive. Ball then tied the Big Ten mark on the Badgers’ next drive as he scampered in from 14 yards out. The record fell in the fourth quarter when Ball found the end zone from three yards out.
The previous touchdown mark at Wisconsin belonged to Brian Calhoun, who had 24 in 2005. The conference record of 26 was shared previously by Pete Johnson (Ohio State, 1975), Anthony Thompson (Indiana, 1988) and Ki-Jana Carter (Penn State, 1994).
Defense stymies Gophers
The Wisconsin defense enjoyed its best performance of the season by yielding only 156 total yards to the Gophers on Saturday. In fact, it was the fewest yards allowed since Purdue gained 141 yards on Oct. 31, 2009.
Mike Taylor led the Badgers with 13 tackles, his fifth double-digit tackle game of the season. Senior cornerback Antonio Fenelus recorded his third interception of the season and eighth of his career, picking off a second-quarter pass.
Gophers quarterback MarQueis Gray finished 6-of-14 on the day for just 51 yards and the one interception. Gray also was the top Minnesota rusher, gaining 68 yards on 19 carries.