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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But Saturday was the biggest night of all.

Wisconsin finished with the fourth-highest rushing total in school history (539) and tied a conference championship game scoring record. Texas also scored 70 points in the 2005 Big 12 championship game.

"We kind of set our minds before the game that this is our game," Ball said. "The running backs were going to set the tempo."

It was a fitting end to a wacky Big Ten season.

Wisconsin only reached this year's title game because Leaders Division champion Ohio State (12-0) and division runner-up Penn State (8-4) were both ineligible for postseason play.

But on Saturday, the Badgers took advantage of their good fortune by piling up 639 yards of total offense.

The defense dominated, too. In the first half, Taylor Martinez was sacked three times, fumbled twice, losing one and had an interception returned for a touchdown.

He finished 17 of 33 for 184 yards with two interceptions and six sacks. He also rushed 19 times for 140 yards, scoring on a nifty 76-yard run, but fumbled twice.

Bielema countered by emptying the playbook and running right over the Nebraska (10-3, 7-1).

"We practiced some of them (trick plays) for a while," Bielema said. "There's probably a couple we haven't used yet either and they'll remain a little secret. James wanted to be recruited as a quarterback all along, so finally had that opportunity to show up out there and just a lot of different things. Our kids had a little bit of fun with it, but it was still the meat and potatoes that got us to where we were. "

The onslaught started fast.

Gordon took the ball on an end around, made two cuts and sprinted 56 yards for a 7-0 lead on the fourth play of the game.

On the next offensive play, a falling Kenny Bell tipped Martinez's pass up in the air and Wisconsin's Marcus Cromartie picked it off and raced 29 yards. It was already 14-0 after only 2:07 in.

The 'Huskers finally counterpunched with Martinez's long run and then got a 32-yard field goal to make it 14-10.

Then the Badgers opened things up.

With the ball on the right hash, they sent seven players to the left hash and had Curt Phillips throw a pass to Derek Watt on the right. After two more conventional runs, White ran two plays out of the wildcat formation, scoring on the second one from 9 yards to make it 21-10.

White scored again on a 1-yard plunge right after Phillips caught a 27-yard pass from receiver Jared Abbrederis. And after Ball's record-breaking touchdown dive made it 35-10, Gordon went 60 yards on an end around to put the ball at the Nebraska 3 with 6 seconds left in the half. This time, White lined up in the wildcat, ran right and lobbed a 3-yard TD pass to Sam Arneson for a 42-10 halftime lead.

And Nebraska never challenged again.

"Everything went wrong. It was a great game plan and, like I told coach, 'it wasn't your fault,' I put this on the defense," safety P.J. Smith said. "We didn't step up, we didn't do what we were supposed to do."