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Heisman Connection: Ball and Wilson play pitch-and-catch as Badgers roll Hoosiers

That's right. Russell Wilson <em>caught </em>a pass from Montee Ball Saturday.
That's right. Russell Wilson caught a pass from Montee Ball Saturday.

MADISON, Wis. -- Just when you think you have seen it all from Russell Wilson, he does something more.

This time it was a touchdown catch by the quarterback that left 80,732 fans stunned as the Badgers went on to beat Indiana 59-7 Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium.

Leading 14-0 early in the second quarter, Wilson pitched the ball out running back Montee Ball on the right side and slipped out to the left. Ball slowly ran to the outside as if the play was stretch run toward to the right sideline. But instead of making his usual cut up-field, Ball cocked the ball and floated it 25-yards to the left-side of the end zone where Wilson was waiting wide open for the touchdown.

"That was actually probably Montee's worst throw since we've been running that play," head coach Bret Bielema said. "I said, 'Just get it in the area, Russell is a pretty good athlete, he'll come down with it.' But Montee actually had been running that pretty cleanly. I think he had the jitters."

Ball agreed with his head coach's analysis.


"Terrible. Terrible form. It looked like a duck up there but Russell did a good job of tracking it down," he said.

No matter what the throw looked like, it worked. But the play left many wondering why the Badgers didn't save it for a bigger game.

Obviously the coaching staff wanted to get it on tape and Bielema explained why:

"Russell, as great as he is at everything, he might be the best ball fake guy I have ever seen. He just carries it out, he's so thorough, so detailed. So what it does, it makes people adhere to, 'Hey he might be running a pass play or something along those lines' and it draws the backside safety, corner, whatever to him, which will maybe allow Montee Ball or James White to have a big hit on the front end."

With Wilson's ability to run, defenses already have to play close attention to ball fakes on every single play, but now they also have to worry about him as a receiver when it's obvious he doesn't have the ball. That will force future opponents to keep a guy on him on almost every single play, giving everyone else one less guy to block. At least that's the idea.

Meanwhile, running back James White said he could throw the ball even better than Ball did, so hey, watch out for the at as well.

Ball in Heisman picture too?

While Wilson continues to bask in the Heisman light, all Ball does is score touchdowns. After running for three and throwing for one Saturday, the junior running back has now accounted for 18 touchdowns this season.

Ball also racked up 143 yards on just 14 carries, averaging a ridiculous 10.1 yards per carry.

The running back's touchdown throw doesn't officially count a scored touchdown, but his 17 touchdowns in six games puts Brian Calhoun's single-season record of 24 touchdowns in serious jeopardy.

Communication error

Overall, Wisconsin's defense had another solid game, but they did allow a 67-yard touchdown run to running back Stephen Houston on Indiana's only score of the game.

"We missed a call," Bielema said. "We missed an adjustment from a linebacker to a d-lineman. It was a mental bust."

Linebacker Mike Taylor took the blame by saying he called out the wrong coverage and Chris Borland shed more light on the play by saying the defensive lineman is supposed to swing over into the open gap and that didn't obviously didn't happen.

Fenelus continues to impress

Cornerback Antonio Fenelus had another solid game Saturday and pulled down his second interception of the season.

Bielema admitted he slightly reprimanded Fenelus for intercepting a ball on fourth down in the end zone because it actually cost Wisconsin 15-yards of field position, but he also praised his senior cornerback.

"He's playing himself into an NFL opportunity by playing so well at our level," he said.

Preparing for first Big Ten road test

It's hard to imagine six easier wins to start a season, but next week the Badgers will return to the site of their last regular season loss when they travel to Michigan State.

In the off-season many Badgers said that loss hurt just as much as the Rose Bowl loss because of how bad they played, but Bielema look the blame for that loss Saturday and is looking forward to a different result next week.

"That's my fault," Bielema said about his players not being prepared last season. "I probably didn't stress playing on the road in the Big Ten as much as I should have going into that game and we didn't play very well. I think we left a lot of things on the field."

Bielema then referenced the speech he made after that loss in which he said he didn't know if he had a Big Ten Championship caliber team going into that game, but knew he had one after the loss. Then he said he doesn't want to have to make that speech again.

"That was good for last year. I don't want to use it this year."