Nebraska stumbles in first Big Ten game

Montee Ball, leaving Jared Crick of the Corn­huskers behind, scores four 
touch­downs in the Badgers’ victory.

Getty Images

Montee Ball, leaving Jared Crick of the Corn­huskers behind, scores four touch­downs in the Badgers’ victory.

MADISON, Wis. — Russell Wilson gave Nebraska a harsh welcome to the Big Ten, throwing for two touchdowns and running for one in No. 7 Wisconsin's 48-17 rout of the No. 8 Cornhuskers on Saturday.

Montee Ball ran for 151 yards and four touchdowns for the Badgers, the Cornhuskers' first conference opponent since leaving the Big 12.

It was another big step for Wilson, the former N.C. State quarterback who gave up minor-league baseball to return to college football and play for a Badgers team that seemed to have all the pieces of a BCS title contender but needed a quarterback.

Wilson played well in his first four games but hadn't been tested. Saturday, he found himself under pressure early. But he started showing his ability to scramble out of trouble and extend plays.

Wisconsin's defense also appeared to be in for a long night, allowing a pair of early — and easy — touchdown drives by Taylor Martinez that put the Badgers behind 14-7 early in the second quarter.

Wilson answered with a drive capped by Ball's second touchdown. The extra point was blocked, and Nebraska still led 14-13.

Later in the quarter, Wisconsin picked off Martinez on consecutive possessions, the first by linebacker Mike Taylor and the second by safety Aaron Henry.

Wilson made the Huskers pay for both, firing a 36-yard touchdown to Jared Abbrederis then a 46-yard touchdown to Nick Toon with 32 seconds left in the half. Nebraska missed a 50-yard field goal near the end of the second quarter, and Wisconsin took a 27-14 lead into halftime.

Martinez threw another interception on the first play from scrimmage in the second half, this time to cornerback Antonio Fenelus.

Wilson helped the Badgers cash in again. On first and goal at the 10, Wilson faked a handoff and took off running, leaving the Huskers defense in the dust for a 34-14 lead.

7 Wisconsin 48

8 Nebraska 17

Nebraska stumbles in first Big Ten game 10/01/11 [Last modified: Sunday, October 2, 2011 1:27am]

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