NCAA Game Summary - UNLV at Wisconsin|
(Thursday, September 1st)
Final Score: (11) Wisconsin 51, UNLV 17
Madison, WI (Sports Network) - Russell Wilson's debut at Wisconsin was a
successful one, as he threw for 255 yards and a pair of scores while the 11th-
ranked Badgers blasted UNLV, 51-17, in the season opener for both teams.
The powerhouse backfield of James White and Montee Ball had a big hand in
Wisconsin's success last year and made an immediate impact in the 2011 lid-
lifter. Ball rushed 10 times for 63 yards and three touchdowns, and also
caught a scoring pass. White had 11 carries for 64 yards and a TD.
Wilson, a transfer from NC State, completed 10-of-13 passes. The redshirt
senior, who came to Wisconsin after starting 36 games for the Wolfpack, also
rumbled 46 yards for a touchdown for the Badgers (1-0), who went 11-2 in 2010
and closed the campaign with a 21-19 loss to TCU in the Rose Bowl. The Badgers
won a share of the Big Ten title, the team's 12th in history and first since
"I've never seen someone take charge like he did." Ball said of Wilson. "That
man is making some phenomenal plays out there, especially on his feet. He's a
great playmaker and is getting the job done."
Redshirt sophomore Caleb Herring connected on 18-of-27 throws for 146 yards
and two TDs for the Rebels (0-1), who are coming off a 2-11 mark in Bobby
Hauck's first season as head coach.
Herring is the seventh different opening-day starter for the Rebels in the
last eight years.
Wilson culminated Wisconsin's opening seven-play drive with a four-yard TD
pass to Ball, who was left open on the left side on a 3rd-and-goal situation.
Ball, who was four yards shy of 1,000 on the ground last year, shed a couple
of tackles up the middle on the way to a 22-yard TD run midway through the
first quarter. Redshirt freshman Kyle French pushed the extra point wide
"I had a chance to watch the (2011) Rose Bowl this afternoon," Hauck said. "I
replayed that in the hotel and it's the same thing, everyone had trouble with
these backs and we certainly did, too. They are good with the football in
space and run hard. They have make-you-miss ability and they can get tough
yards. They're impressive."
The Badgers widened the lead on the possession after Nolan Kohorst missed a
34-yard field goal try for UNLV. White, who ran for a team-best 1,052 yards in
2010, capped an 80-yard march with a one-yard plunge for a 20-0 lead inside
the final minute of the quarter. The drive featured a 39-yard connection from
Wilson to Nick Toon.
On the possession after Kohorst hooked a 52-yard kick wide left, Ball scored
standing up on a one-yard run up the middle. He also caught a 63-yard pass
during the four-play drive, which ended with 8:50 left in the half.
UNLV finally broke its scoring drought on Kohorst's 37-yard field goal, but
Wilson took off on a 46-yard scramble up the middle and then down the right
sideline, into the end zone with 1:14 remaining until halftime.
"I thought I could outrun the defenders, but I was just trying to get the
first down," Wilson said. "Nothing was really open down field so I was just
trying to get something positive. We made some great key blocks down field. I
know Nick made one on the 2-3 yard line that helped me get in the end zone, so
that was crucial."
The Badgers then forced a punt and White caught a 40-yard pass, which led to
29-yard field goal from French on the final play of the second quarter and
a big 37-3 lead.
Wilson hit Jacob Pedersen with an eight-yard scoring pass, and Ball scored
from a yard out later in the third. Ball's TD came immediately after Wilson
connected with Bradie Ewing for a 41-yard gain.
The Rebels finally found the end zone with 2:53 left in the third on a six-
yard tightrope catch from Phillip Payne.
William Vea caught a nine-yard TD pass from Herring early in the fourth
By that time the Badgers had replaced Wilson with redshirt freshman Joe
UNLV is 2-10 all-time vs. the Big Ten...Wisconsin, which had 499 yards of
offense, leads the all-time series 8-2...Badgers coach Bret Bielema is 21-0 in
regular-season non-conference games...Wisconsin has won its season opener
every year since 1998 and has captured 29 consecutive regular season non-
conference games. The Badgers have also won their last 16 home
openers...UNLV's Bradley Randle had 65 yards rushing, four more than teammate
Tim Cornett...Michael Johnson caught seven passes for 51 yards in defeat... It
was 90 degrees at kickoff. That is the hottest home game in Badgers history.
09/02 01:15:49 ET