Badgers Beat Penn State As Fans Behave
The Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday easily handled Penn State by a lopsided score of 45-7, earning the team the first-ever Big Ten Leaders Division title and a spot in next Saturday’s inaugural conference championship game.
The one-sided nature of the game sent many fans streaming toward the exits well before the final seconds ticked away. Those same fans treated Nittany Lion supporters well, said University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Sgt. Aaron Chapin.
School administrators had pleaded with fans, known for rowdy and sometimes profane chants, to behave in light of the Penn State child abuse case. School officials hung a blue ribbon on the fieldhouse near Camp Randall in support of child abuse awareness.
“The majority of the fans have been excellent,” one Penn State fan said, who added that the allegations saddened all of his fellow fans. “We’ve tailgated, no problems, with the exception of one or two.”
Before the game, Badger fans said they expected everyone to behave.
“I think our students are smart enough to know the difference between something that’s fun and something that’s offensive,” one said.
“I think some fans around here might be upset about what happened, and I think that’s natural,” said another. “Everyone’s upset. It’s disgusting.”
By the end of the game, any fears of inappropriate behavior hadn’t been realized. Nor had concerns that the Badgers wouldn’t be able to beat Penn State.
“We knew our Badgers could come through,” a group of fans said as they left Camp Randall prior to the end of the game. “They were hungry but we were hungrier.”
Most fans said they were hardly disappointed that the all-important game ended with a lopsided score.
“Oh no, we’re happy, we’re happy with the guarantee of going to the big game in Indianapolis,” said Thea Miller of Madison, who said she planned to attend the championship game Saturday. “We go to a lot of games, but this is the first championship game. We’re excited.”
The Badgers will face the Michigan State Spartans in a much-anticipated rematch for the opportunity to play in the Rose Bowl in January.
The Spartans defeated Wisconsin on a last-second play when they met in East Lansing on October 22.
The Badgers played on Saturday like a team ready for next Saturday’s challenge. They accumulated 450 yards of total offense and forced four turnovers en route to the dominating 45-7 victory.
Wisconsin’s Montee Ball and the Badgers rushing attack made much of the difference. Continuing his record-shattering season, Ball rushed for four touchdowns and 156 yards on 25 carries.
Going into the game as the school and conference all-time record holder for touchdowns in a season, Ball now has a total of 34 touchdowns. He still trails Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders, who scored 39 touchdowns in 1988. Ball rushed for 68 yards on 19 carries in the first half.
Senior quarterback Russell Wilson also impressed with 19 for 29 passing with two touchdowns and 186 yards through the air. Most of his damage was done in the first half when the Badgers got out to a 28-7 lead.
Wilson repeatedly kept scoring drives alive with his legs, scrambling for 44 yards on five carries.
Senior Nick Toon, who wore No. 87 in honor of his dad, former Badgers receiver Al Toon, caught a second quarter touchdown. Wisconsin improved to 13-0 when Toon catches a touchdown in a game.
Jared Abbrederis caught Wilson’s other first-quarter touchdown pass, and led the Badgers’ receivers with seven catches for 93 yards.
The Badgers defense, in addition to forcing four turnovers, held the Nittany Lions to 233 yards, quickly righting itself after allowing Matt McGloin and Curtis Drake to hook up on a quick touchdown on a blown coverage play. Drake’s stroll into the end zone on the 44-yard touchdown pass play gave the Nittany Lions an early — and brief — 7-0 lead.
Although there were no major discipline problems at Saturday’s game, there were a number of fan ejections.
UW Police ousted 48 fans, 22 of them UW students.
18 people, including 12 students, were arrested.