GAME BALL goes to Montee Ball
Super sub Montee Ball played a huge role for a third straight game, getting his first career start and rushing for a career-high 167 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries. Ball set his previous career high with 127 yards the previous week against Purdue and eclipsed that in the first half with 20 carries for 145 yards. He also filled in against Iowa in the second half two games ago and caught five passes.
THUMBS UP to the offensive line
Let's be honest, it doesn't seem to matter who is at running back for the Badgers given the high level of play of the offensive line. The Badgers rushed for 338 yards and averaged 7.2 yards per carry without starting running back John Clay, who was out with a knee injury. They also did it with Bill Nagy making his first start at center for Peter Konz (ankle). The first drive set the tone again, with the offensive line opening up gaping holes on a 65-yard touchdown drive that consisted of five runs by Ball and a 15-yard facemask penalty.
THUMBS DOWN to Bret Bielema
Granted, the UW coach is in a difficult position of having to impress pollsters to help his team's Bowl Championship Series credentials. Still, the 83 points seemed excessive. The 74-yard bomb to Jared Abbrederis midway through the fourth quarter to make it 76-13 was piling it on and the excuse Bielema gave of giving backup quarterback Jon Budmayr a chance to pick up a first down was lame.
HOW THE TEAM SEES IT
Scoring 83 points doesn't do anything for lousy computer rankings, which don't take into account margin of victory, but it should get the attention of the human voters.
HOW UW FANS SEE IT
Bloodthirsty student section — cheering wildly after the 80-point margin was broken — loves versions of video-game football; older fans wonder whatever happened to Barry Alvarez showing compassion for overmatched opponents.
HOW THE POLLSTERS SEE IT
Rolling up big point totals gets noticed — just ask top-ranked Oregon — but there could be some potential backlash to going to this extreme.