Oct. 7, 2006
Box Score |
MADISON, Wis. - Joel Howells' 22-yard field goal with 13:10 to play in the second half pulled Northwestern to within one point, 10-9, of Wisconsin, but from that point on, it was all Badgers as they posted a 41-9 victory over the Wildcats.
Wisconsin's P.J. Hill rushed for 249 yards, including a long touchdown run on the second play of the game.
Hill, a 242-pound redshirt freshman who is drawing early comparisons to former Badgers standout Ron Dayne, took a handoff on the second play from scrimmage, rumbling to the right and accelerating away from the Northwestern secondary for a 60-yard touchdown.
Hill's running allowed the Badgers (5-1, 2-1 Big Ten) to avenge a 51-48 loss in Evanston last year on a Northwestern team that is struggling to recover from a tumultuous offseason.
It was the third straight loss for the Wildcats and new coach Pat Fitzgerald, who took over after his mentor, Randy Walker, died suddenly of a heart attack June 29.
Northwestern (2-4, 0-2 Big Ten) couldn't stop Hill in the first half. He passed the 100-yard rushing mark with 5:13 remaining in the first quarter - his fifth 100-yard game this season.
Wisconsin took a 10-0 lead on a field goal by Tyler Mehlhaff, but Northwestern answered with a 47-yard kickoff return by Sherrick McManis that helped set up a touchdown on a quarterback sneak by redshirt freshman Andrew Brewer. The point-after try was blocked and Wisconsin led 10-6.
Northwestern closed to within 10-9 on the second-quarter field goal by Howells. But Badgers quarterback John Stocco -- who took a back seat to Hill on Saturday after being the Big Ten offensive player of the week against Indiana a week ago -- threw a touchdown pass to Luke Swan later in the quarter.
Wisconsin had 310 yards of total offense in the first half, including 189 yards rushing by Hill, but led only 17-9 at halftime. The Wisconsin offense was slowed by three first-half turnovers, including two fumbles by wide receiver Paul Hubbard and an interception of Stocco in the Northwestern end zone.
Hubbard stumbled on his way to the sideline after his second fumble, and did not return to the game.
The Wildcats defense slowed Hill and the Badgers in the second half, but Dywon Rowan scored on a 4-yard touchdown run to put the Badgers ahead 27-9 near the end of the third quarter.
Brewer threw an interception that was returned 25 yards for a touchdown by safety Joe Stellmacher with 14 seconds remaining in the third quarter, giving Wisconsin a 34-9 lead.
Brewer had 94 yards passing and 80 yards rushing for Northwestern. He started in place of Mike Kafka, who started the first four games for Northwestern but is sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Stocco was 16-of-21 for 220 yards with a touchdown. Reserve running back Lance Smith had a 25-yard touchdown run with 54 seconds remaining in the game.