Saturday, November 10, 2012
Instant analysis: Wisconsin 62, Indiana 14
By Adam Rittenberg
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Wisconsin has been dominant in two games played on Indiana soil. After Saturday's 62-14 drubbing of Indiana, the Badgers have earned a third trip back to the Hoosier State -- for the Big Ten title game on Dec. 1.
Here's a quick look back at Wisconsin's win ...
It was over when: James White broke free for a 69-yard touchdown run on third-and-16 with 13 seconds left in the first half. Wisconsin appeared content to run out the clock following an Indiana touchdown, but White scooted into the open field behind terrific blocking and delivered the death knell to the Hoosiers.
Game ball goes to: Wisconsin running back Montee Ball. The senior established himself early and often and put on a clinic against the overmatched Hoosiers defense. Ball had 198 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries, averaging 7.3 yards per rush. He moved into sole possession of second place on the NCAA's all-time touchdown list with 77.
Stat of the game: Wisconsin ran and ran and ran some more. A program known for its rushing offense never rushed for more yards than it did Saturday, racking up 564. Melvin Gordon gave Wisconsin the record on a 17-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter. The team's previous high was 551 yards against Northwestern in 1974.
Best call: Wisconsin opted to go for a fourth-and-2 on its opening possession of the second half, and Curt Phillips stood his ground despite the rush and found fullback Derek Watt in the flat for a 17-yard gain. Wisconsin repeatedly attacked the edges, where Indiana is weak, and maintained momentum with the conversion. Ball scored three plays later to give Wisconsin a 31-7 lead.
What it means: Wisconsin is back in the Big Ten title game for the second straight year despite a turbulent season on offense that included three starting quarterbacks for the first time since 1987. These Badgers aren't as good as they were the past two seasons, but they looked the part Saturday. After beating Indiana 59-7 and 83-20 the past two years, Wisconsin continued its dominance of the Hoosiers. It was a reality check for Indiana, an improved team but one that shouldn't be playing for a league title so early in its development. The Hoosiers needed a much stronger start on offense to keep pace with the Badgers, but quarterbacks Cameron Coffman and Nate Sudfeld looked rattled from the start. Kevin Wilson's team now must sweep its final two games (at Penn State, at Purdue) to become bowl-eligible. Although Indiana's program is on the rise, there's still a long way to go to challenge the Big Ten's upper half.
Unsung hero: Phillips' teammates picked him up big-time in his first career start at quarterback, but the senior made some nice throws and showcased decent mobility despite having three ACL surgeries since the spring of 2010. He completed 4 of 7 passes, including the big fourth-down throw to Watt and a touchdown strike to Sam Arneson. He also had a 52-yard run up the gut in the third quarter and finished with 68 yards on seven carries.