(Hat-tip to Hilary Lee)
This Saturday morning, I set off for Madison with my dad, knowing full well that the day's weather was likely to be utterly miserable.
I was right that the weather would be miserable. I thought Indiana would come out firing given their loss the previous week. They were so close to an upset of Iowa, and losing that game in that fashion had to have hurt. Badly. But I didn't think, in any universe, that this game would be this lopsided.
I couldn't have known what Wisconsin would do. I couldn't have known that the domination Wisconsin unleashed on utterly hopeless Austin Peay in September would be trumped in the same season, let alone on a Big Ten team.
After the jump: key stats of the day from both teams.
Wisconsin didn't punt today. They just didn't. The Badgers were 7 for 10 on 3rd down and 1 for 1 on 4th down conversions. The failed 3rd down conversions were in Philip Welch's FG range, and he hit both tries. In addition, Welch kicked a school record 11 PATs and accounted for 17 points on the day.
Indiana, on the other hand, punted on their opening possession, scored a touchdown, and got a field goal in the first 16 minutes or so. But afterwards, the Hoosiers missed a field goal, lost a fumble, punted, and ended the first half without points, in that order. Mitch Ewald managed a pair of field goals and 2 PATs, but missed a long attempt (that looked like it was tipped by a DL).
On the other side, Wisconsin ran off a touchdown and a field goal in the first quarter, before opening up on the Hoosiers with an unprecedented SEVEN consecutive touchdown drives from the 2nd quarter deep into the 3rd. The Badgers scored 11 touchdowns on the day. ELEVEN.
Montee Ball ran for 167 yards and 3 touchdowns on 22 carries. He blocked well, but his great day running the ball opened up the passing lanes for Scott Tolzien to dominate the IU secondary. He must love the state of Indiana; his first 100 yard game came in Bloomington last year against the Hoosiers and he ran for over 100 against Purdue last week. Wonder Freshman RB James White, who missed the Purdue game last week, shredded the Hoosiers. He found holes just about everywhere and ran for 144 yards on 19 carries, with a pair of rushing TDs.
Scott Tolzien was also impressive, completing 15 passes on 18 attempts for 181 yards and 3 touchdown strikes. His decision making was almost unquestionable, but I have to wonder why Chryst and Bielema left him in the game after the half, let alone most of the 3rd Quarter...
After vanishing for the last few weeks, Lance Kendricks hauled in 3 receptions for 47 yards. Lance grabbed an incredibly athletic TD strike in the 3rd Quarter. It was good to see him contribute in that fashion given his apparent invisibility against Iowa and Purdue.
David Gilreath, two years after dominating the Hoosiers to the tune of 168 rushing yards and over 200 all-purpose yards, had a good game at the expense of Indiana. He caught 3 passes for 41 yards, had 84 kick return yards (on 2 kick returns), and a 23 yard punt return that set up one of the myriad Badger touchdowns on the day. He put together a solid game and avoided fielding punts with the IU gunners right on top of him.
Jared Abbrederis hauled in a gigantic TD in the 4th quarter (which put Wisconsin up 76-13), but he almost returned a kick for a TD earlier in the game (he still raced 51 yards and set up another TD). His contributions on special teams were huge; his blocking set up big returns by David Gilreath that gave Wisconsin a shortened field to work with.
Indiana cycled through 3 starting QBs: Ben Chappell, Edward Wright-Baker, and Dusty Kiel. All of them threw touchdown passes, but Kiel's touchdown pass was a tipped ball to Wisconsin S Aaron Henry, who would not be denied the TD. Wright-Baker's first play of the day was a fumble that J.J. Watt and David Gilbert scooped up. In addition, Indiana turned the ball over 3 times. Wisconsin didn't turn it over once. Indiana committed 6 penalties; Wisconsin didn't commit one until late in the 3rd Quarter and had just two on the day. Those factors made things much, much harder on the Hoosiers and set up shorter fields for the Badgers on offense.
All in all, Wisconsin dominated Indiana in first downs, earning 30 to the Hoosiers' 13. The Badgers gained 598 yards of total offense and averaged 8.8 yards per play. The Badgers again ran wild against the Hoosiers, with 338 yards on the ground (compare that to Indiana's 311 of TOTAL offense). IU's run defense has been lit up by the Badgers over the last few years: Wisconsin ran for 441 rushing yards in 2008, 294 in 2009, and 338 in 2010.
IU's Nick Turner, however, ran off a gigantic 67 yard carry in the 1st Quarter, and then vanished into the dust and was never seen again. IU's other backs, Zach Davis-Walker and Trea Burgess, were extremely ineffective and 64 yards between them on well below 4 YPC. That's a very yucky stat, as Turner had an unreal 9.3 YPC but had just 11 carries on the day. (in other words, why isn't Lynch giving him the ball?)
Wisconsin held Tandon Doss to one reception, a 2 yard TD strike from Chappell that tied the game 7-7. Damarlo Belcher found holes in the secondary, especially on 3rd down, but he managed all of 3 receptions on the day for 30 yards. IU's passing game was anything but effective after Chappell went to the bench.
Since the 65-31 game in 2001 and the 32-29 Indiana win in 2002, Wisconsin has punished Indiana many times over. Wisconsin won 42-17 in 2005, 52-17 in 2006, 33-3 in 2007, 55-20 in 2008, and 31-28 last year. 2010, however...was a humiliation worse than 65-31 in every conceivable fashion. This wasn't a Battle of the Coral Sea. Or a Battle off Samar. It wasn't even a Midway. But it was a Marianas Turkey Shoot. I never thought I would see Bret Bielema put up 60 on a team, let alone 83.
IU fans, I apologize. I apologize for the fact that we had our starting QB in the game late into the 3rd and only pulled him after his 3rd TD pass of the game. I'm sorry that we called long passes after we'd blown the game open. I'm sorry that Henry didn't go down after hauling in the INT. I'm sorry that our fun came at your expense; your program has seen so many L's of late and this score wasn't necessary. By all means, Chryst should have called off the dogs after the Welch FG that put Wisconsin up 62-13.
Bottom line: This was not a game.
It was a massacre. And it really, really, happened.