A Satisfying Shutdown

One year after Indiana picked on him, senior cornerback Niles Brinkley and the Wisconsin secondary fought back, shutting down the vaunted Hoosier attack and helping the Badgers register a 83-20 blowout on Saturday.

MADISON – Niles Brinkley felt like the nerdy school kid being shoved into his locker by the school-yard bully.

In Wisconsin's 31-28 victory in Bloomington last year, Brinkley was beaten for pass plays of 46 and 33 yards on a three-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in the first half and for a 19-yard gain in the second half.

"They had two huge plays on me last year and they really picked on me," Brinkley said. "I had a chip on my shoulder all week."

With the help of his defensive teammates forcing three turnovers, giving them seven in two weeks, and in-your-face pressure all game on the Indiana quarterbacks, No.6 Wisconsin were the big bullies in the school yard fight, picking on little-kid Indiana with a 83-20 blowout in front of 80,477 shocked onlookers Saturday.

The 83 points is the most ever for the Badgers (9-1, 5-1 Big Ten) against a conference team, the most points ever scored in a game during the modern era and the most since the Badgers defeated Marquette, 85-0, on Oct. 8, 1915.

"It's pretty easy to say you've played a complete game when you score that many points," junior safety Aaron Henry said. "When you know you are beating a team like that, you really want to go out there and make some plays."

The only 15 minutes from suggested it was going to be a Big Ten slugfest, as Indiana (4-6, 0-6 Big Ten) answered every UW score with an identical score of its own. The momentum changed after the secondary stepped up to the plate.

Indiana was driving inside the Wisconsin 35 when blanked coverage forced Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell to dump a pass underneath, short of the first down marker. Instead of going to the first down, the Hoosiers elected to attempt a 52-yard field goal, an attempt that fell short. The Badgers needed only two plays and 50 seconds to go 66 yards for a 24-10 lead.

The floodgates never shut after that, as Wisconsin scored on each of its 13 possessions, never punting and committing zero turnovers.

"As a man, you try to establish your identity every day, establish your name, and this was another opportunity for us to do that," UW Coach Bret Bielema said. "I think they did a really good job imposing their will."

Despite throwing two interceptions last season, Chappell still completed 25 of 35 passes for 323 yards and three touchdowns. Before leaving with a hip injury with five minutes remaining in the first half, Chappell, the conference's top passer with an average of 296.3 yards per game, finished with only 63 yards and one touchdown pass on 8-for-14 passing.

The two back-up quarterbacks finished 3 of 10 for 86 yards, including Dusty Kiel throwing a high pass that turned into a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown for Henry.

"Words can't explain how I felt when I was actually able to get in the end zone," said Henry, who has turned all seven turnovers the last two games into points, totaling 45. "It was real exciting."

Since last playing Indiana, the Badgers have allowed only one 300-yard passer in the last 14 games and none in the past 12, a resurgence that has been part a more experience and part new aggressive coaching by first-year UW Secondary Coach Chris Ash.

Ash replaced current Notre Dame linebackers coach Kerry Cooks and used an aggressive approach to preach fundamentals, reinforce teaching points and sound techniques.

The teaching has evidently worked, as Wisconsin has been whistled for only one pass interference penalty in 10 games, coming in Week 2 against San Jose State.

"Coach Ash doesn't let the little things go by," Brinkley said. "He brings up everything, good and bad, and it makes us play better. The coaches harp on penalties and we strive to be the least penalized team in the nation."

The Hoosiers had eight completions of 15 yards or more last year, including three of 30 or more, and the Hoosiers' top three receivers each had at least five receptions and at least 68 receiving yards.

This time around, Wisconsin's starting secondary allowed only one play over 15 yards, held Indiana to 149 total passing yards and shutdown three of the top four pass-catchers in the Big Ten in Damarlo Belcher, Tandon Doss and Terrance Turner to only eight combined catches.

"It's a statement for our secondary that we aren't the prettiest secondary with the best stats, but shows we can play," Brinkley said.

The biggest statement the Badgers can make is next week when it travels to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan, a team that has scored 38.5 points over its last four games and a team that has won in the Big House since 1994.

"This is a platform into the next game," Henry said. "Michigan has a tremendous offense and a tremendous quarterback, but I think for us this week it was a tremendous test."

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