No. 14 Nebraska collapses in 70-31 loss to Badgers

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 2, 2012 at 1:07 am •  Published: December 2, 2012
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Nebraska coach Bo Pelini spent nearly four hours watching Saturday night's debacle.

He needed less than 10 minutes to pin the blame on himself.

Wisconsin's Montee Ball ran for 202 yards and three more touchdowns, and the dominant Badgers blew out No. 14 Nebraska 70-31 in the Big Ten title game.

It's the third time in four years, the Cornhuskers have gone home empty-handed and this one was the most embarrassing of all.

"We failed. We failed to win a championship, that was the goal coming in and we didn't get it done and I apologize for it," Pelini said. "I apologize to the football team, I apologize to the coaches, the fans, like I said, everybody associated with it because at the end of the day, it falls on me. I'm the one responsible for it and we didn't get it done. "

Nebraska (10-3, 7-1) was looking for its first league title since 1999 and most expected the drought to end against Wisconsin.

Instead, the Badgers (8-5, 4-4) emptied the playbook and ran right over the Cornhuskers famed Blackshirts, gouging them for 539 yards and producing two 200-yard rushers in one game for the first time in school history.

The most painful part: Nebraska had no answers.

After a head-shaking first half put the Cornhuskers in a 42-10 halftime deficit, Nebraska still gave up scoring runs of 9, 57, 68 and 10 yards in the second half.

It was the first time Nebraska had given up 70 points in a game since a 76-39 blowout against Kansas in November 2007, and it marked the end of a six-game winning streak that began after a 63-38 loss to Ohio State.

"Shock doesn't even begin to explain it," Pelini said. "It was like a leaking boat. It was one thing after another, one problem after another. There were some things that we corrected and then it happened again. I've never been a part of a game like that as a coach. "

Ball and the Badgers running backs did lots of damage.

Ball broke the Football Bowl Subdivision career rushing touchdowns record, getting to 76, tied the FBS record for most games with two or more scores (25), topped the 5,000-yard mark and was the game MVP.

Not a bad night for a guy whose numbers weren't even the best on the team.

Melvin Gordon opened the scoring with a 56-yard TD run and had a career-high 216 yards on nine carries. Three different Badgers threw passes, including running back James White who ran for 108 yards and four TDs and threw for a touchdown on the first pass of his college career. He helped the Badgers capture the most improbable Big Ten title in their three-year run.

The Badgers are the first five-loss team to reach the Rose Bowl, and became the first Big Ten school since Michigan in the late 1970s to earn three consecutive tickets to Pasadena, Calif.

"As my AD tells me all the time, you haven't one won yet," coach Bret Bielema said. "We're going out there to win. That's the mission, and I appreciate all the fans coming out to Madison East."

Indiana has quickly become a second home for the Badgers.

Wisconsin is the only Big Ten team with a win at Lucas Oil Stadium and has won 10 straight in the Hoosier State. It played three games in Indiana this season, rushing for 1,570 yards and 19 TDs while outscoring opponents 170-59 in those three games.