Notes: Watt a Performance

Michigan sophomore quarterback Denard Robinson got his yards, but he met his match in junior defensive end J.J. Watt. Watt did a bit of everything on the field Saturday for the Badgers, including grabbing his first career interception, in a 48-28 victory over Michigan Saturday.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - J.J. Watt knew what to do when he deflected Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson's pass and saw the ball coming toward him.

He had no idea what to do with his left shoe.

"I've never had that happen," Watt said. "I guess people were complaining that I threw it a little bit but I was just putting it back towards his huddle so he could put it back on."

Watt was everywhere on the field Saturday, finishing with six tackles, one pass breakup and one key interception in the fourth quarter that kept the momentum rolling No.6 Wisconsin's way in a 48-28 victory over Michigan Saturday.

Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan may garner plenty of votes for conference defensive player of the year, but there is arguably nobody that means more to a defense than Watt.

"J.J. Watt is incredible," UW Coach Bret Bielema said. "A big play guy. He's just a dominant player."

On the ensuing drive after Wisconsin (10-1, 6-1 Big Ten) extended its lead to 38-21, Watt used a bull rush on the right tackle, got his arms up to deflect Robinson's pass high in the air, caught it for his first career interception and returned it 15 yards before being tackled by Robinson from behind.

"I thought I had a chance to score until I remembered that Denard Robinson is one fast dude," Watt said.

It's a deflection play that Watt, a semifinals for the Bednarik Award, had spent the summer perfection. Not only is Watt on second on the team in tackles for loss and third in sacks, he leads the team with six quarterback hurries and is second with seven pass deflections.

"It's become instinct," Watt said. "It's something I've worked real hard on over the last two years and it paid off their big time. A deflection to me is the exact same thing as a tackle for no gain, which is a huge play for the defense."

The only lapse in the defense came in the third quarter, where the Badgers' defense allowed the nation's fifth-best scoring offense to rack up 166 yards and 21 points in the third quarter. Other than that, the Badgers held the Wolverines to 276 yards and seven points.

"The best part of our team is we regroup," Watt said. "Everybody settled down, did their job and it turned into success."

Because of it, Wisconsin beat Ohio State, Iowa and Michigan in the same season for the first time in school history, results that will help the Badgers clinch at least a share of its first Big Ten title since 1999 with a win over Northwestern next Saturday.

"It's real big and I know Badgers fans are real happy about it. Hopefully the state of Wisconsin is proud because we worked our tails off for this win. We are heading home to play Northwestern with a lot on the line. We know exactly what it means to everybody in the state."

A Special Player

After Wisconsin's 83-20 victory over Indiana last, the Badgers, despite a plethora of offensive options, gave the team's offensive player of the week honor to junior running back Bradie Ewing, who Bielema said is playing as good of football since he's been on campus.

He backed that play up against the Wolverines. Ewing caused Michigan's first turnover when he threw a big hit on return man Jeremy Gallon's midsection, causing a fumble and a recovery at the Michigan 27.

"I was just following my keys, seeing the target and keeping my feet moving," Ewing said. "I just put my helmet on the ball and it was kind of good because I missed a few tackles in the games prior."

After the Wolverines cut the lead to 31-21, Michigan decided to gamble with an onside kick, which Ewing pounced on and secured at the bottom of the pile. It was a big swing, giving Wisconsin a short 45-yard field, an opportunity which yielded a Ball rushing touchdown seven plays later.

"That's another great example of a guy that goes above and beyond the call of duty," Bielema said of Ewing.

It Had to End Sometime

Wisconsin entered the game tied for the nation's lead with just seven turnovers, but made two costly turnovers in a six-minute span of game time that brought the Wolverines back in to the game.

With the Badgers leading 24-0 and having just recovered a fumble inside the 30, Tolzien's committed his first misfire by forcing a pass into traffic, which was intercepted by James Rogers, cancelling out the opportunity for points.

After Robinson finally got Michigan on the board with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Stonum, Isaac Anderson fumbled the ball at the UW 38, just the third fumble lost by the Badgers this season.

Robinson took advantage with a 34-yard pass on first down, beating cornerback Niles Brinkley, then scored on a 4-yard run on the next play to make it 24-14.

"Ball security was an issue," Bielema said. "I made a point at halftime that the only way they get back in this thing is if we turn the ball over. The boom-boom, we did that."

Wisconsin also entered the game leading the country in red-zone touchdown percentage, converting 81.1 percent of trips inside the 20-yard line in o touchdowns. Saturday, the Badgers went 4-for-5 in the red zone, scoring three touchdowns and a field goal.

Extra Points: Wisconsin has won three-consecutive conference road games for the first time since 2006 … With the win, Wisconsin has won 10 regular-season games for just the third time in school history (1998 and 2006 were the other years) … Wisconsin set a school single-season record for rushing TDs. The Badgers' five rushing TDs today give them 40 on the season, breaking the old record of 38 set in 1974 … It is just the second time in school history two players have rushed for at least 150 yards in the same game. The only other time was against Wyoming on Oct. 6, 1973, when Billy Marek had 226 yards and Ken Starch had 184 yards.

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