Wisconsin made a renewed push up the Big Ten pecking order with a throttling of Northwestern at Camp Randall. The Wildcats had to deal with limited availability from QB Kain Colter and RB Venric Mark (ankle injuries for both), but Wisconsin's was was so complete and decisive that the issues were much, much larger than missing personnel.
The vaulted Badger rushing attack lived up to its reputation, gouging the Wildcat defense for 286 yards on the ground. That makes 534 rushing yards given up by the Wildcats in just their first two weeks of Big Ten play alone, and while that pace isn't likely to keep up—Ohio State and Wisconsin are two legitimately great rushing teams—it is a significant problem for Northwestern and a primary reason why it's 0-2 in conference play.
Box Score Hero: The Badger defense gets a nod for shutting down Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian and the Wildcat attack. Northwestern's final stats: 224 yards of offense on 66 plays, 10 first downs, six points. That's how you do it, Wisconsin.
Rankings Ramifications: There's really no reason not to rank Wisconsin at this point; the Badgers are 4-2 with their losses coming on a ludicrous officiating blunder at Arizona State and by seven points at Ohio State. That's hardly grounds for disqualification from the Top 25, and with a throttling of a ranked team now on its resume, it's time to think of Wisconsin as a rank-worthy (that's not a word) team.
Northwestern is right out.
But Did They Cover? Wisconsin came into the game as a 10.5-point favorite.
For More On This Game: For more on Badgers football, visit Wisconsin community Bucky's 5th Quarter. For more on Wildcats football, visit Northwestern community Sippin’ On Purple, plus Big Ten community Off Tackle Empire.
Next Week's Schedule: Wisconsin travels to division rival Illinois next week, and Northwestern hosts Minnesota.