Highlights Galore for Toon

Tying a career high with seven catches for a career-best 155 yards and two touchdowns, senior wide receiver Nick Toon became the 14th Badgers to have at least 150 receiving yards in a game, and there's no telling what else he can do now that he's finally healthy for the first time in two years.

MADISON - Bret Bielema has seen the enormous potential in Nick Toon throughout the years, but following a promising sophomore season, he suffered a setback after encountering multiple injuries.

"Injuries are a part of the game," Wisconsin's senior wide receiver said. "You really never play at 100 percent. There's always something going on, but when you can be healthy for the most part, it's the goal."

A now-healthy Toon showed everyone Saturday what his head coach has seen in him, making several highlight-reel plays en route to a career-high 155 receiving yards and tying career highs in receptions (seven) and touchdowns (two) in Wisconsin's 59-10 win over South Dakota in the team's final nonconference game at Camp Randall Stadium.

"He just plays big," Bielema said of Toon. "He's a guy that, when he's healthy and is playing well, is as good as any wide receiver in the country."

Toon (128) passed Chris Chambers (127) for fifth in school history Saturday in receptions and moved to within three catches of his father, Al, for fourth.

After hauling in just two passes in his team's opening win against UNLV, Toon has broken out the past three games. He had seven catches for 69 yards and a touchdown for the No. 6 Badgers (4-0) in their win over Oregon State Sept. 10 and hauled in five catches for 75 yards and two scores in the Wisconsin's victory over Northern Illinois Sept. 17.

He has 21 receptions for 353 yards and has already caught a career-best five touchdowns this season.

"Obviously, a good day (Saturday) and hopefully I can keep that going," Toon said. "My job is to catch the ball, so whenever the ball comes my way, I'm going to do everything I can do to catch it."

During the team's third drive of the game, Badgers senior quarterback Russell Wilson appeared to float a pass over the head of Toon, but Toon reached out and pulled the football in with his right hand for a 22-yard one-handed reception.

For his first touchdown, Toon received a screen pass from Wilson and used a block from sophomore Jared Abbrederis to bolt 59 yards down the right sideline to the end zone.

And for his last trick, Toon laid out for a two-yard catch in the left side of the end zone with South Dakota cornerback Alphonso Valdez draped on his back for his second score.

"He's extremely talented," senior quarterback Russell Wilson said of Toon. "He's got a lot of ability. He works hard every single day. The chemistry's there, and we just have to keep working."

After catching 54 passes for 805 yards in earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors in 2009, Toon managed just 36 receptions for 459 yards in an injury plagued season a season ago.

Toon was bothered most of last year by a turf toe injury he suffered in Wisconsin's season-opening win over UNLV. He missed three games because of that injury and missed an additional game after suffering a thigh contusion in the Badgers' victory over then-top-ranked Ohio State Oct. 16.

He also missed spring practice earlier this year with a foot fracture and was held out part of fall camp as a precaution.

"I feel good," Toon said. "I'm healthy, so I'm able to go out and do what I do. Injuries are a part of the game and you have to learn how to deal with them. Hopefully, I can stay healthy for the rest of the year."

And how special would it be for Toon to pass his father on the school's all-time receptions list against No. 9 Nebraska during primetime next week?

"That would be cool," Toon said. "It's not really something that's on my mind, but obviously a huge week next week and looking forward to being able to play the game."

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