As a team, the Badgers finished the game averaging 7.7 yards per offensive play. Northern Illinois' defense could not slow down Wisconsin's attack.
Wilson had the offense moving right from the start. It took the Badgers four plays to get 51 yards and reach the endzone, as Nick Toon hauled in a 12-yard touchdown catch from Wilson.
Late in the first quarter after Northern Illinois found the scoreboard for the first time, Wilson and the Badgers had no problem responding. Three plays, 51 yards, and 43 seconds later, Wilson found Toon for another touchdown connection. From that point on, the game was out of reach.
Entering the game, Wilson had a passer efficiency rating of 237.6, which ranked second in the nation. A late interception diminished the number, but Wilson's current efficiency is at 213.4.
"I think he's a terrific player," NIU head coach Dave Doeren said of Wilson. "Look at his stats at NC State. You don't need to see him at Wisconsin to know he can throw the football."
On the season, Wilson has completed 75.8 percent of his passes for 791 passing yards and eight touchdowns, but he showed he is more than just a passer.
Wilson averaged 7.4 yards per carry, but gave the Badgers a boost with some key first downs on the ground. His biggest run came on third-and-eight when he escaped pressure and dashed for 11 yards and a first down.
"That is one things as a defensive coordinator, if you bring all that pressure, all he has to do is make one guy miss and then he is running for a while," said Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema.
Cutting back on penalties
With the Huskies fighting to hang around, Wisconsin was not doing themselves any favors. They committed four penalties in the first quarter, then two more later in the second quarter, all made by the offense and combining for 45 yards of lost offense.
"We were talking on the side and a lot of people didn't really know (what was happening)," senior right guard Kevin Zeitler said. "We were making (line) calls and people thought we said, 'Go.'"
Bielema and the Badgers made halftime adjustments, and it paid off. The Badgers did not commit a single penalty in the entire second half.
"We have really smart kids, so I think we might have tried to outsmart ourselves," Bielema said. "We had a silent count and a one count and, obviously, weren't communicating on the same page there. We were able to overcome it, which was huge."
Senior wide receiver Nick Toon was Wilson's go-to target, finishing with five catches for 75 yards and two touchdowns—both of those coming in the first half. Toon now has 11 career touchdown catches, and has caught a touchdown in two consecutive games for the first time in his career. This was also the third time Toon had two touchdown grabs in a game. The Badgers are now 8-0 in games where Toon has a touchdown catch.
Versatility in the backfield
Wisconsin running backs Montee Ball and James White each rushed for 91 yards and totaled three touchdowns on the ground, but also showed they aren't just strong runners. Ball and White showed off their versatility as receivers. White had three catches for 35 yards, while Ball added two grabs for 32 yards. The backs combined to catch 10 passes for 126 yards.
"They have nice soft hands and are talented," Bielema said. "They bring an option to our game that we have never really had before."
Oglesby, who has undergone six knee surgeries in his career, injured his left knee in the third quarter and was wearing an immobilizer on the sidelines afterward.
"I do think it's not as significant, like an ACL or something like that," Bielema said. "Josh is very frustrated, I think the world of that kid, he's just extremely snake- bitten in the knee department."
Brennan scores first touchdown
For the second time this season, redshirt freshman Joe Brennan got some valuable snaps in the fourth quarter. After Bielema wanted to give his first-team offense some fourth quarter work, Brennan led a 9-play, 50-yard drive that ended with his 6-yard touchdown off a bootleg.
"I gave Paul Chryst one pass opportunity there with Brennan because I didn't want anything to get out of hand," Bielema said. "But I do think it's great, just even in these past couple of games, to get those fourth quarter reps with Joey Brennan.
"You never know when you're going to need him."
Extra Points: The Badgers now have won 31 consecutive regular-season non-conference matchups … Bret Bielema is now 2-1 in NFL stadiums. In his first game as Wisconsin head coach, the Badgers earned in a win in Cleveland Browns Stadium over Bowling Green. Bielema's only loss in an NFL stadium came in the Outback Bowl against Tennessee, where the fell in Raymond James Stadium … The Badgers' 97-yard touchdown drive is the longest drive since November 11, 2006, where they drove 97 yards against Iowa … Wisconsin has now scored 40 points or more in five of their last six regular-season games … Russell Wilson's 384 all-purpose yards is the fifth-most in Wisconsin history.