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Saturday, September 17, 2011
Wisconsin rolling at halftime

By Brian Bennett

Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren knows Wisconsin's personnel intimately from serving as the Badgers' defensive coordinator before this year.

That doesn't mean he knows how to stop the Badgers' offense. He also didn't experience slowing down down Russell Wilson, and it shows.

Any concern that familiarity would breed competitiveness has so far proven unwarranted. The Badgers are motoring right along just as they have the first two weeks, leading the Huskies 28-7 at halftime at Soldier Field.

Wilson has been his usual brilliant self, completing 15-of-19 passes for 237 yards and two touchdowns. His receivers have mostly been wide open, and Wilson almost never misses the open guy. Northern Illinois has held Montee Ball and James White to a combined 67 yards, but they each have a touchdown run, and Wilson has run for 36 yards. And if you play to stop the run, Wisconsin can beat you with the pass.

Give Doeren credit for being aggressive. After Northern Illinois scored its lone touchdown in the first quarter, he called an onside kick that the Huskies very nearly recovered.

They're going to need a lot more than that to have a chance in the second half against a Wisconsin team that's in another offensive groove.