MADISON, Wis. -- The Badgers showed early on that they wouldn't let South Dakota hang around in their final game before the start of Big Ten play. After their first offensive series stalled, the Badger defense held the Coyotes to a three and out, and it was almost all Badgers after that. The Badgers scored a touchdown on eight of their next 11 possessions, often enough where the freshly painted end zones might need a fresh coat.
Tight end Jacob Pedersen, who had a catch for 11 yards in the game, said the team didn't want to let the Coyotes hang around late in the game.
"One of our things is 'Finish. Leave no doubt,'" Pedersen said. "We don't want to be ahead of a team and let them sit there and linger around. We want to put the game away and not worry about anything coming back late for us."
Apart from a few minutes after South Dakota drove for a field goal in the second quarter, the game was never really in doubt. The Badgers responded 39 seconds later with another touchdown, this time off a 49-yard rush from sophomore running back James White.
In all, the Badgers would score 42 more points before the Coyotes found the endzone for themselves.
"This team is great," White said. "The offensive linemen, they get us started, and then great receivers, great quarterback, and we've got running backs that can make things happen. Coach Chryst calls the plays, and we just go out there and do our jobs."
The Badgers got a lot of help from their top wide receivers, both of whom had at least 100 receiving yards on the day.
"Nick's healthy. We've seen him make plays like that in practice," head coach Bret Bielema said. "He plays big. He catches the ball, in my opinion, as well as he can with his hands. He's a guy that, when he's healthy and playing well, is as good as any wide receiver in the country."
Toon had an impressive one-handed catch down the sideline in the first quarter, setting the Badgers up for their first touchdown four plays later. After the game, Toon downplayed the catch to reporters.
"It was a good catch," Toon said. "Russell put the ball up there and I just made a play on the ball."
"It's hard to pick one," Toon said, when asked about his favorite part of the day's game. "Just running off the field with the 'W' is the best feeling."
Nebraska next on the schedule
With the non-conference slate wrapped up, the Badgers will host new Big Ten member Nebraska at Camp Randall in a nationally televised night game. Senior quarterback Russell Wilson told reporters he was excited for the Cornhuskers to come to town.
"You're definitely excited about it," Wilson said. "That's one of the reasons I came here. We have a great team coming in, and we have to make sure that we prepare the right way."
The Cornhuskers are undefeated at the time of this writing, and the contest looks to be a matchup between two Top 10 teams, and potentially a preview of the Big Ten's first conference championship game.
"We understand that we have to come out on all cylinders and be ready to go," Wilson said.
Senior defensive tackle Patrick Butrym compared the upcoming game to last year's win over then-undefeated Ohio State, and had a message for Badger fans as well.
"It's going to be a wild atmosphere on Saturday," Butrym said. "They're going to have a lot of fans traveling, so [Badger fans] definitely need to hold onto those tickets. Don't sell those - even though it may be very lucrative. We definitely need that home field advantage."
Redshirt junior safety Shelton Johnson left the game in the first half after suffering a leg injury, and did not return to the game. Bielema said Johnson's injury is not as bad as they first thought, but he might stay overnight in a local hospital as a precaution.
"Shelton basically either got a knee or got stepped on, it was a severe bruise," Bielema said. "They were worried that it would become a situation where he was bleeding internally. I just talked with the doctors afterwards; it wasn't as serious as they thought. He maybe in the hospital overnight but [he] has a chance to play this week. We'll just kind of wait and see."
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