Fittest loser
Article updated: 11/10/2012 5:16 PM

Ball's big day leads Wisconsin past Indiana 62-14

Wisconsin's Montee Ball (28) and James White celebrates after Ball ran 49-yards for a touchdown Saturday during the second half against Indiana in Bloomington, Ind.

Wisconsin's Montee Ball (28) and James White celebrates after Ball ran 49-yards for a touchdown Saturday during the second half against Indiana in Bloomington, Ind.

 

Associated Press

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By Associated Press

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Wisconsin's Montee Ball repeatedly hit Indiana with his jabs. James White threw a couple of surprising hooks.

Together, they were a real knockout punch.

Ball rushed for 198 yards and three scores, White added 161 yards and two more touchdowns and the Badgers finished with a school-record 564 yards rushing in a 62-14 rout at Indiana that wrapped up a second straight berth in the Big Ten title game.

"Montee was just breaking tackles and staying alive, clawing his way on the ground. He was just possessed," Badgers coach Bret Bielema said, shaking his head. "I know he wants to make a big push to get back to New York."

If he continues running this way, he could.

With three more touchdowns, Ball passed 1998 Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams for second on the FBS' all-time list. He now has 77 career scores and needs just one more to tie Travis Prentice of Miami (Ohio) for the career record. It also was Ball's 24th career game with at least two scores, leaving him one behind Prentice for the national record, too.

Ball didn't just score, he demolished Indiana's defense.

He averaged 7.3 yards on 27 carries -- and nobody will be happier to bid the senior farewell than the Hoosiers (4-6, 2-4). He joined another Badger, Heisman winner Ron Dayne, and Michigan's Mike Hart as the only Big Ten players with four 100-yard rushing games against the same opponent since 1996.

Not enough?

White averaged 11.5 yards on 14 carries and Melvin Gordon ran eight times for 96 yards and another score.

Wisconsin (7-3, 4-2) was so proficient on the ground that first-time starting quarterback Curt Phillips threw only seven passes, one for a 2-yard TD. It was a stark contrast from the 19-yard rushing performance Wisconsin had in a rare home loss to Michigan State two weeks ago, and it was all by design.

"Yeah, I knew their goal was 400 yards today," Ball said, referring to the offensive line. "I went to their rooms and watched the film in their rooms all week, so I saw their goals.

"The offensive line did their job and we didn't want to let them down," he added. "We made the right reads and the right plays."

For Indiana (4-6, 2-4), it was a total letdown.

The Hoosiers came into this game riding a two-game winning streak and chasing their first three-game winning streak in league play since 1993. At stake: A chance to control their destiny in the Leaders Division.

But Wisconsin's intimidating ground game never really gave them a chance.

The Badgers crushed the Memorial Stadium record for an opponent, set by Michigan State (441 yards) on Nov. 16, 1974. Wisconsin's previous school record was 551 yards against Northwestern, also in 1974.

Indiana also saw its school record streak of scoring 24 points in game end at 10, and the loss left Indiana in jeopardy of missing out on a bowl game again.

"We didn't play good D, we didn't play good O, we just kind of got spanked," coach Kevin Wilson said. "I don't like it, don't want to like it; at the same time, don't have to have any excuses. We all need to do better."

Wisconsin wasted no time sparring with the Hoosiers.

Jared Abbrederis ran for 19 yards on the Badgers first play, matching the Badgers entire total against the Spartans. Six plays later, Ball converted a third-and-2 with a 21-yard run. On the next play, he took advantage of a good seal block on the right side and jogged in from 10 yards out to tie Williams for second place.

Things got much worse for Indiana.

After Phillips' 2-yard TD pass to Sam Arneson and a 24-yard field goal made it 17-0, Indiana thought it had climbed back into the game when Cameron Coffman threw a 6-yard scoring pass to Ted Bolser to make it 17-7 with 2:25 left in the half.

But White answered by turning a broken play into an inexplicable 69-yard TD run with 13 seconds left in the half to make it 24-7.

"It went outside, but it got clogged up. I was supposed to go around to the left," White explained with a chuckle. "When I came back the other way, I was like 'Man, I just messed this whole play up.' Then I saw a huge hole."

Indiana never recovered.

Ball opened the second half with a 1-yard TD plunge, then scored on a 49-yard run and White scored again on the 50-yarder to make it 48-14 and put the two-time defending Big Ten champs within one win of a three-peat.

"We will celebrate this one," Bielema said. "I thought it was a great statement game."

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