"That's the attitude that we need, you know," said linebacker DeAndre Levy. "Kill basically, take their throat out. When you got them down, stomp on them."
"I'm in shock," said Indiana head coach Terry Hoeppner, who returned to the sidelines after a two-week absence following brain surgery. "They outcoached us and outplayed us in every aspect of the game."
In front of a sparse crowd of 32,142, with an early kickoff and coming off such a disappointing setback against Michigan, worries of a UW letdown seemed to be well-founded, especially following a four play drive before being forced to punt on the Badgers' initial possession. However, Wisconsin quickly put such ideas to rest, going on to score on their next eight possessions and taking a commanding 52-0 stranglehold on the hapless Hoosiers.
"I wanted them to go out and have fun today," Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema said. "I wanted them to set a tone; that we controlled this game."
Quarterback John Stocco enjoyed maybe the best passing day of his career, completing 15 of his 17 throws for 303 yards and three touchdowns, while the Badger running game, powered by freshmen P.J. Hill and Lance Smith totaled 209 yards on 46 carries. In all Wisconsin racked up 539 yards as the offense finally clicked after a dubious four games to open the season.
"I think our team needed a game like this," said Bielema.
"Every time you have a break out game like this you can only build off of it and that is we are trying to do," said junior wideout Paul Hubbard, who had an landmark personal game, catching six passes for 122 yards and most importantly, no drops.
No where was Wisconsin's aggressiveness more apparent than in the final minutes of the first half, where with the Badgers leading 35-0, Bielema called timeout with 1:14 left as the Hoosiers were trying to run out the clock and limp into the locker room. While Wisconsin only ended up with a missed field goal to show for it, the message was clear that Bielema was not going to take his foot off the gas, but instead go for the knockout blow.
"I know if we can put up 35 points in the first half somebody else can too," Bielema explained after the game.
Other than Indiana putting up 17 points in the final 10 minutes of the game against the second and third-teamers, the UW defense was suffocating, holding the Hoosiers to 162 yards and just eight first downs through three quarters.
Perhaps the most telling statistic of the defense's dominance was that Indiana's longest play from scrimmage on the day came on a fumble by quarterback Kellen Lewis, which fortuitously bounced into the arms of Josiah Sears who scampered for 29 yards.
"We just wanted to prove that we were a better defense, better than last week, better than last year," said sophomore cornerback Allen Langford.
While the defense was outstanding the story of the day was how effective the Badger aerial attack was, as Stocco and the receivers for the first time all season appeared to be on the same page.
"I thought everyone was just on target all day," said Stocco, who said that he felt good almost from the onset. "Anytime you complete your first throw, your first couple throws helps get a quarterback in rhythm, so I think that helped."
Stocco looked as poised and as comfortable as he has at any point all year, and continued to show the patience to stand in the pocket and make the throw in the face of the pass rush, a problem for him in the past.
A classic example being on Wisconsin's second touchdown pass of the game, a 35-yard frozen rope from Stocco to a wide-open Travis Beckum (the converted tight-end's first touchdown catch). Just as he released the ball, Stocco was de-cleated by a blitzing Indiana linebacker, but after just a moment on the ground Stocco hopped up, pumped his fist, and went on to throw another TD pass on the next drive.
"He was unbelievable today, man," said Hubbard.