Wisconsin is 6-0 for the first time under head coach Bret Bielema, the first time since 2004 and for the sixth time since 1900 after pushing its regular-season winning streak to 13 games. Thirteen games is the longest winning streak for Bielema, a streak that came to the end on the road in October. Wisconsin is hopeful that past history doesn't repeat while current history continues.
The Badgers have won nine-straight Big Ten games (tied for the longest streak in school history), and are winning with a productive offense and a stingy defense. The Badgers are winning by an average of 29.5 points per game, are averaging over 240 yards passing and rushing and have given up only 58 total points.
Putting that number in perspective, Wisconsin, which leads the Big Ten in both scoring offense and scoring defense, has scored 59 points in two games.
The Badgers find themselves ranked sixth in this week's BCS standings, which is accurate considering Wisconsin's nonconference schedule and having faced only one ranked team thus far. Downgraded by the computer, think how much the electronics will like the Badgers if they can pull off a victory this week in East Lansing.
The rankings for the Front Seven are determined based on performance, expectations and need — a wonderfully vague definition of valuable to justify just about any selection. Please vent debates and disagreements on the premium board, as it wasn't easy narrowing the last down to seven.
Last week's rankings in parentheses
1, Montee Ball, RB (2) — Finally, somebody have overtaken Wisconsin's quarterback at the top of the list. Ball was spectacular against Indiana's porous run defense, rushing for 142 yards and three touchdowns and throwing a 25-yard touchdown pass in the 52-point victory. Ball, A Doak Walker Award Candidate, has rushed for 293 yards and seven touchdowns in the Badgers two Big Ten games and is tied for the national lead with 17 touchdowns. In fact, he's scored 10 more touchdowns than UW's defense has allowed.
2, Russell Wilson, QB (1) — Wilson wasn't needed to do much with the Wisconsin offense establishing the run, but he finished the game without a turnover (that's five turnover-free games this season) and he continued his streak of throwing at least touchdown pass one touchdown pass to 30 straight games. Wilson was 12-of-17 for 166 yards and a score in just under three quarters of work, but his 25-yard touchdown catch from Ball was certainly the highlight.
3, Chris Borland, LB (NR) — What else can you say about Borland? His 15 tackles were a career high and he lead the team with three tackles for loss. In his first season at middle linebacker, Borland leads the Badgers and is tired for the conference lead with 58 tackles. His 8.5 TFLs are tied for fourth in the conference. I think we can put the fears of Borland not adjusting to the new position to rest.
4, Jared Abbrederis, WR (5) – With senior Nick Toon resting his foot, Abbrederis became the focal point of the offense and responded with team highs in catches (4) and yards (63). For good measure, he threw in a 60-yard punt return for a touchdown and didn't have a problem with any of the nine punts in the kicking game. Over his last four games, Abbrederis has 20 catches for 342 yards and two scores.
5, James White, RB (NR) – There's only one football to go around, so it's been for a guy like White to get a lot of carries, but the sophomore running back rushed for 87 yards and one touchdown on his 13 carries against the Hoosiers. White is ninth in the conference with 416 rushing yards and his speed and agility are a tough matchup for any defense.
6, Antonio Fenelus, CB, (NR) – Fenelus only had one tackle against Indiana and that was for two reasons. One, Indiana only attempted 20 passes and two, the Hoosiers didn't want to challenge him after his leaping interception at the goal line. Bielema said Fenelus is playing as well as any cornerback he's had at Wisconsin, which bodes well heading into this weekend matchup.
7, Aaron Henry, FS (7) — Another game, another interception for Henry, who continues to be a solid contributor in the back of the defense. His 18-yard interception return set up Wisconsin for another two-minute offense touchdown and his play in the secondary limited Indiana to just 2-of-14 on third down.
Others to Note
FB Bradie Ewing – He showed great awareness catching the deflected punt that set up Wisconsin's second score, his blocking was again top notch and he even caught an 11-yard pass. Playing on every special teams unit, Ewing is one of the best unsung players in the Big Ten.
P Brad Nortman – Nortman joked that he may have to ice his leg after punting six times (a season high) but the senior was near perfect on the day. He averaged 43.8 yards per punt with a long of 52 and booted three inside the 20.
DE Louis Nzegwu – Having a quiet season up until this point, Nzegwu was active early and often last Saturday. His six tackles were third best on the team and he added a tackle for loss and a half sack. Hopefully, there's more to come from the senior.
LB Mike Taylor – You may be asking what Taylor is doing unranked. Well, even though he had 13 tackles (2 solo), a quarterback hurry, a pass breakup and a half sack, he missed a defensive call that allowed a 67-yard touchdown run, a mistake he fully admitted to after the game. I know it's a moot point now and Taylor is playing at a high, healthy level, but that can't happen with UW playing four of its final six away from Camp Randall.
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