RussellMania and the first-team offense registered points on its first eight possessions and Wiscosnin's defense kept the Rebels out of the end zone until late in the third quarter, all of which equaled a convincing 51-10 victory Thursday night in college football's opening weekend.
It was hard to argue who was more impressive for Wisconsin. Junior running back Montee Ball and his knew physique ran through UNLV with little problem, finishing with 63 yards on 10 carries and three touchdowns. Sophomore running back James White was just as effective, rushing for a team-best 64 yards and the capped a 20-0 first quarter for Wisconsin with a one-yard plunge.
As for Wilson, he came as advertised. The senior finished 10-for-13 for 255 yards and two scores. Throw in his 62 rushing yards, including a 46-yard touchdown with 1:14 left in the first half, Wilson and the Badgers' first-team offense did nothing to squelch the high preseason expectations placed on the team.
Defensively, Wisconsin's first-team defense overwhelmed UNLV's young offense, limiting the Rebels to only 161 first-half yards and 4.5 yards per play. For the game, Wisconsin outgained UNLV 500 to 292.
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7 plays, 65 yards, 3:06 TOP, 11:49 left
Montee Ball 4-yard pass from Russell Wilson (Kyle French kick)
Key Play: After three Montee Ball runs gained 33 yards, Russell Wilson finally aired it out. On a rollout to his right, Wilson found Abbrederis for 23 yards to the UNLV 9 for a first down.
6 plays, 56 yards, 1:56 TOP, 8:12 left
Montee Ball 22-yard run (kick failed)
Key Play: After a 30-yard punt return by Jared Abbreders gave UW great field position, Montee Ball showed how he can operate with less weight. Running up the middle, Ball broke two tackles, broke it outside and broke a lower body tackle by picking up his legs high-step style, allowing him to walk into the end zone.
8 plays, 80 yards, 3:40 TOP, :38 left
James White 1-yard run (French kick)
Key Play: The Wilson-Toon connection gets its first completion, and it was a beauty. On playaction and rolling to his right, Wilson threw the pass up for grabs and Toon out jumped the cornerback, who was also whistled for pass interference. The pass went for 39 yards and got UW down to the 28.
4 plays, 65 yards, 1:54 TOP, 8:50 left
Montee Ball 1-yard run (French kick)
Key Play: With the blitz coming, Wilson smartly hit Ball on a checkdown in the flat. The result was another fantastic play by Ball. Ball sprinted, juked and plowed his way for a 63-yard gain, getting the Badgers to the 3-yard line.
13 plays, 64 yards, 7:00 TOP, 1:45 left
FG Kohorst 37
Key Play: Presnap penalties and missed tackles won't get any team very far, and Wisconsin found that out the hard way. It started when Tyler Dippel did both at the beginning of the drive and got worse when Kevin Claxton missed a tackle on fourth-and-2 that would have given UW the ball. Instead, UNLV's drive continued on the 32.
3 plays, 56 yards, :23 TOP, 1:14 left
Wilson 46-yard run (French kick)
Key Play: After letting Montee Ball take the headlines, Wilson finally showed what he's capable of. With no receivers open, Wilson tucked and ran down the middle, breaking the play outside and sprinting down the sideline for the touchdown.
3 plays, 47 yards, :44 TOP, 0:00 left
FG French 29
Key Play: Getting the ball back with just 44 seconds left, Wisconsin wasn't content about sitting on the clock, especially with the way it was moving the football. One play was all it took to get into scoring range, as White took the screen pass 40 yards down to the UNLV 19.
4 plays, 28 yards, 1:46 TOP, 10:28 left
Jacob Pedersen 8-yard pass from Wilson (French kick)
Key Play: Wilson came back in for the first series and simply made it look easy. He ran through a seam for 16 yards on third down and threw a touchdown pass to a wide-open Pedersen. Life is good for the senior QB.
2 plays, 42 yards, :42 TOP, 8:57 left
Montee Ball 1-yard run (French kick)
Key Play: Wilson is playing well, but he's getting a lot of help from his receivers, mainly his running backs. On a screen play to Ewing, the senior captain had clear field in front of him and showed a little bit of speed and power, out running the UNLV defense and dragging his defender to the 1-yard line.
11 plays, 75 yards, 5:45 TOP, 2:53 left
Payne 6-yard pass from Herring (Kohorst kick)
Key Play: Wisconsin's defense had held UNLV to 0-for-9 on third downs until a questionable pass interference penalty on Antonio Fenelus was whistled on the senior cornerback in the end zone. Even though it appeared Payne initiated most of the contact, UNLV got a fresh set of downs inside the 10.
9 plays, 70 yards, 4:28 TOP, 11:41 left
Vea 9-yard pass from Herring (Kohorst kick)
Key Play: Facing a 3rd-and-11, Herring found Randle open for a 31-yard completion, jump starting the Rebels best drive of the evening against Wisconsin's second-team defense.