Badgers pluck Owls clean

Wisconsin has all the answers — offensively and defensively — in 65-0 rout

MADISON — What a difference a week makes …

One week ago, the Wisconsin defense allowed more than 500 yards, including more than 450 through the air.

Saturday, the Badgers set a school record, allowing Temple to gain just 45 yards of total offense, less than one-tenth of what it allowed seven days ago. The Owls finished the game with -11 yards rushing, the second-best total in school history.

The defense, especially the secondary, went through a hard week of practice before this game, and it paid off in the form of a 65-0 blowout victory, the first shutout for UW since 1999.

"We were on some of our secondary guys pretty hard this week and I thought they responded," Wisconsin head coach Barry Alvarez said. "They anticipated well, and obviously this team isn't going to throw the ball as well as what we saw a week ago … but I like the way the guys played."

"From Monday on, we were pretty tough [on the guys]. In that last series I looked up at the board and I saw seven yards of total offense. I was amazed at that," defensive coordinator Bret Bielema said in reference to Temple's offensive production prior to its last drive.

The Badgers made it look easy, scoring on every first-half possession to take a 51-0 lead into the locker room.

Kicker Taylor Mehlhaff opened the scoring with his first-career field goal less than two minutes into the game.

Tight end Owen Daniels caught the first of his three touchdowns minutes after Mehlhaff's field goal, beating a Temple linebacker who was trying to cover him. He would score on the exact same route less than two minutes into the second quarter to make the score 24-0.

"I just wanted to contribute to the offense like I do every week, and I just got a couple opportunities to do that," Daniels said.

A 66-yard punt return by Brandon Williams for a touchdown put the Badgers up by 30. The senior was flagged for celebrating the return, but Alvarez said he let it fly.

"It was excess celebration, but I let him slide on that one," Alvarez said.

Junior quarterback John Stocco looked solid in his second outing this year. Playing in the first half only, he was 12-of-19 for 180 yards and three touchdowns. He also had a 20-yard run.

"We improved on some things from last week, and that the biggest thing that we need to do," Stocco said.

By halftime, the Badgers had more first downs, 17, than the Owls had total yards, 13, and Alvarez and the Badgers began rolling through their depth chart.

The offense put up the points, but the defense's turnaround from last week's game against Bowling Green was the story.

The secondary shut the door, allowing Temple quarterbacks Mike McGann and Shane Kelly to combine for just six completions in 26 attempts. Cornerback Brett Bell broke up three passes and free safety Roderick Rogers got the game's lone interception.

"Obviously [practice was a little tougher], we gave up 450 yards last week and five touchdowns," Bell said. "We responded and we played well today."

Up front, the Badgers got to the quarterbacks regularly, accumulating five sacks and six quarterback hurries. Defensive end Kurt Ware led the way with a pair of sacks to go along with two hurries and a forced fumble.

"Everyone's going to be pitching in and pulling their weight," Ware said. "There were definitely some big shoes to fill. But it's our turn to step it up and show what we can do."

Badger backup quarterback Tyler Donovan was under center for the entire second half and scored on a 10-yard scamper.

The Owls had the running game stopped early, holding tailback Brian Calhoun to just 42 yards on 11 carries, all in the first quarter as the coaching staff elected to save the halfback's energy for next week's contest. Calhoun did get his sixth touchdown of the season before tailback Booker Stanley took over.

Tailback Jamil Walker also got his name in the box score, leading the rushing attack with 13 carries for 79 yards and one touchdown to make it 65-0 with 4:10 to go in the third quarter.

Wisconsin slowed it down, careful not to run up the score on a depleted Temple team.

"I didn't want to score any more points," Alvarez said. "I don't like to do that. You can't tell your guys not to play hard, you want them to execute. I'd rather be in this situation than on the other side of it, but it's difficult to deal with."

All in all, it was a much more sound effort for UW; however, it did come against a program that was nearly expelled from Division I and was not sure if it was going to field a team this season.

The Badgers will get a much truer test next Saturday at North Carolina.

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