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Ball sets record, Wisconsin rolls past Minnesota

Nov 13, 2011 - 2:00 AM Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Montee Ball scored three touchdowns to set the Big Ten single-season record, and No. 16 Wisconsin had no trouble Saturday in a 42-13 victory over Minnesota.

Ball cut left through the line and broke a tackle for his third touchdown, a three-yard run in the fourth quarter that gave him a Big Ten-record 27 total TDs for the season.

"These [personal] records mean nothing to him, but they're pretty nice things to have in his pocket," Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema said of Ball.

The score punctuated Wisconsin's eighth straight over Minnesota in the FBS level's most-played rivalry.

Russell Wilson passed for 178 yards and four touchdowns while Ball gained 166 yards on the ground to lead a potent Wisconsin attack that rushed for 283. Nick Toon had eight catches for 100 yards and two scores.

The Badgers (8-2, 4-2 Big Ten) have now beaten Purdue and Minnesota by big margins in back-to-back weeks to shake off losses to Ohio State and Michigan.

Minnesota (2-8, 1-5) scored touchdowns on a fake field goal in the second quarter and Duane Bennett's 96-yard kickoff return to open the second half, but lost for the sixth time in its last seven games.

MarQueis Gray was just 6-of-14 for 51 yards and an interception and also led the Golden Gophers with 68 rushing yards.

"We just didn't play very well today," Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill said. "We didn't play all three phases."

Ball scored his first two touchdowns in the first quarter -- one receiving and one rushing -- to tie the previous conference record of 26 shared by Ohio State's Pete Johnson (1975), Indiana's Anthony Thompson (1988) and Penn State's Ki-Jana Carter (1994).

They came on Wisconsin's first two drives of the game.

An 81-yard drive to open the game ended when Wilson hit Ball for a five-yard touchdown.

After a short Minnesota punt, Wisconsin's 51-yard drive was capped by Ball's 14-yard run for a touchdown to double the lead. Wilson then threw a nine-yard TD pass to Toon on the first play of the second quarter to make it 21-0.

Kicker Jordan Wettstein scored Minnesota's first touchdown on a fake field goal, taking a lateral from the holder and running it in from five yards before missing the extra point attempt.

But Gray was intercepted by Antonio Fenelus on the next Gopher drive and Wisconsin turned it into a 28-6 halftime lead on Wilson's 17-yard touchdown pass to Toon.

Bennett cut to the left sideline and outran two Wisconsin players near the end of his 96-yard return to start the second half, pulling the Gophers within 15 points.

But the Badgers got a 27-yard return from Jared Abbrederis on the ensuing kickoff, sparking a 57-yard drive finished by Wilson's three-yard touchdown strike to Jacob Pedersen to make it 35-13.

Since 1890, the teams have met every year except 1906 and have played for Paul Bunyan's Axe since 1948. Wisconsin has won it eight straight seasons and 15 times in the last 17.

Minnesota still leads the 121-game series 59-54-8.

Game Notes

Wilson set a Wisconsin single-season record with 25 touchdown passes...Ball has a school-record 23 rushing touchdowns this season...Toon's eight catches were a career-high...Their games in Minneapolis had been closer in recent years, with the last four before Saturday each being decided by a touchdown or less...Wisconsin's last two games are away at Illinois and at home against Penn State...Minnesota plays at Northwestern next week then home against Illinois.