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Badgers roll past Northwestern

The Wisconsin Badgers
The Wisconsin Badgers

MADISON, Wis (WSAU-TSN)  Joel Stave threw three touchdown passes to help a rested Wisconsin Badgers team knock off the 19th-ranked Northwestern Wildcats, 35-6, at Camp Randall Stadium.

Stave overcame two interceptions to finish with 241 yards on 17-of-28 passing for the Badgers (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten), who had been idle since losing at Ohio State on Sept. 28. The Wildcats (4-2, 0-2) were coming off their own loss to the Buckeyes at home last week.

Melvin Gordon and James White both eclipsed the century mark in rushing for Wisconsin. Gordon had 172 yards on 22 carries, scoring on a run of 71 yards, and White ran the ball 19 times for 101 yards and one touchdown.

"Those guys played great up front," Gordon said of the offensive line. "They got really good push, gave us some holes. It was pretty much us and the safeties."

The Wildcats' two-quarterback system became a one-man show following an injury to Kain Colter. Trevor Siemian took the bulk of the snaps and completed only 13-of-34 passes for 163 yards.

Northwestern running back Venric Mark also missed significant time because of injury.

The Wildcats, who had scored at least 30 points in a school record seven straight games, mustered only 10 first downs and converted just 2-of-17 third- down opportunities.

"We got beat by a football team that played a lot better than we did today," Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald admitted. "When you don't play well, days like today can happen."

Badgers wide receiver Jared Abbrederis was the story of the first quarter, for good and bad reasons, before exiting with a head injury.

The senior committed a turnover that led to a Northwestern field goal and played a role in another giveaway. Abbrederis failed to cleanly catch a Stave pass and safety Ibraheim Campbell picked off the deflection at the Northwestern 18.

In between the miscues, Abbrederis got behind the Wildcats secondary for a 63- yard touchdown reception.

Northwestern failed to capitalize on the interception, punting the ball back to the Badgers in the second quarter.

Stave then orchestrated an 11-play drive and White capped the sequence with a short touchdown run for a 14-3 Wisconsin lead. The advantage grew to 18 when Gordon gashed the Northwestern defense prior to halftime, and the Badgers continued to run the ball to open the third quarter.

After five consecutive plays on the ground, Stave connected with Alex Erickson down the field for a 35-yard gain. The long completion set up a 1st-and-goal from the 2-yard line and Jacob Pedersen made a grab on third down to extend Wisconsin's lead to 28-6.

Stave added a 3-yard TD pass to Derek Watt in the fourth quarter.

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