(WSCR) – Northwestern was given no chance as they faced Wisconsin. Montee Ball’s four touchdowns and Venric Mark 94 yard touchdown return was too much for the Wildcats to handle.
By CHRIS JENKINS
MADISON, Wis. (AP) Another week, another jaw-dropping blowout for No. 5 Wisconsin.
This one earned the Badgers a share of the Big Ten title.
Wisconsin routed Northwestern 70-23 at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday, and will split the conference championship three ways after Ohio State and Michigan State won earlier in the day.
The Badgers (11-1, 7-1 Big Ten) appear to have the inside track on a Rose Bowl berth, which will be determined by the Bowl Championship Series standings. Fans chanted “Rose Bowl” in the final seconds of the game, then rushed the field as fireworks exploded over the stadium.
No. 8 Ohio State beat Michigan on Saturday, and No. 11 Michigan State won at Penn State. Wisconsin came into this week leading both teams in the BCS rankings.
Wisconsin certainly is doing its best to impress voters in recent weeks.
Its victory Saturday made it four straight by 20 points or more – and it wasn’t even the most lopsided game in that stretch, because Wisconsin beat Indiana 83-20 on Nov. 13. And it was the third time this season the Badgers scored 70 points or more.
Montee Ball rushed for 178 yards and four touchdowns for the Badgers. Scott Tolzien was 15 of 19 for 230 yards and four touchdowns, including a pair to wide receiver Nick Toon.
It was also a dominant game by standout defensive end J.J. Watt, who forced two fumbles and made a big hit that caused an interception. Watt even blocked a Northwestern extra point try in the third quarter, leaving the crowd chanting his name.
Wisconsin’s only scare came when tight end Lance Kendricks landed awkwardly on the ball after catching a 29-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter. After lying on the turf for several minutes surrounded by the team’s medical staff, Kendricks was able to get up and walk to the locker room with assistance.
Venric Mark returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown for Northwestern (7-5, 3-5 Big Ten).
Already without quarterback Dan Persa because of an Achilles’ tendon injury, Northwestern also was missing top running back Mike Trumpy because of a wrist injury.
The Wildcats split time at quarterback between Evan Watkins and Kain Colter.
Stopping Wisconsin clearly was going to be a challenge for Northwestern’s defense, which gave up 519 yards rushing in a loss to Illinois at Wrigley Field last week.
Tolzien got it started with a 30-yard pass to Kendricks on the Badgers’ first possession, setting up Ball’s 32-yard touchdown run. After Northwestern’s first possession ended with an interception by Jay Valai, Watt continued the Wildcats’ offensive misery by stripping the ball from Watkins. Tyler Dippel scooped up the ball, and Ball made it 14-0 two plays later.
The Wildcats managed a field goal, but it was only a speed bump for the Badgers.
Wisconsin scored five more touchdowns before halftime, including a third TD run by Ball, the pair of touchdown catches by Toon, and scores by David Gilreath and Kendricks.
Northwestern managed a 6-yard touchdown run by Watkins and the return by Mark, but still trailed 49-17 at the half.
Updated November 27, 2010
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