UW football: Tom Oates grades the Badgers vs. Northern Illinois

2011-09-17T18:00:00Z 2012-05-23T17:57:21Z UW football: Tom Oates grades the Badgers vs. Northern IllinoisTOM OATES | toates@madison.com | 608-252-6172 madison.com

CHICAGO -- Tom Oates evaluates the University of Wisconsin football team's performance in a 49-7 victory over Northern Illinois at Soldier Field on Saturday.

Offense: A

When opposing defenses sell out to stop the run, Russell Wilson makes them pay ... and pay ...and pay. Nick Toon and Jared Abbrederis were very sure-handed. If anything, James White needs even more touches.

Defense: B-plus

UW gave up some passing yards but blanked a very good offense after the first quarter. The three linebackers were very active and Marcus Cromartie had only one breakdown in his first start at cornerback.

Special teams: B

UW was more lucky than good on Northern's surprise onside kick attempt. Kyle French missed a 50-yard field goal. Holder Brad Nortman made a nice play on a high PAT snap. Alec Lerner's kickoffs were inconsistent.

Overall: A-minus

UW had six offensive penalties in the first half and still led 28-7, then buried an excellent MAC team in the third quarter. The offense is unstoppable, the defense is coming on and the special teams are solid.

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