MADISON — The Wisconsin Badgers (2-1, 0-0 conference) defeat the New Mexico State Aggies (0-4, 0-0 conference) in dominating fashion, 66-7.
The Wisconsin offense scored its first, first quarter touchdown of the season, on its opening drive, following an Isaac Guerendo 50-yard return of the opening kick.
With the short field, Braelon Allen carried three times, with his final carry of the drive going for a 39-yard touchdown. It was Allen’s first of three touchdowns in the game.
This is the third time in Allen’s short collegiate career, that he has scored three times in a game.
Allen finished with 15 carries for 86 yards and his three scores, before exiting in the third quarter.
Following back-to-back drives that ended in punts, the Wisconsin offense found it’s stride, as the Badgers scored on four consecutive drives in the second quarter, getting touchdowns from Chez Mellusi, Allen and Skyler Bell, pushing its way to 35-point advantage at halftime.
Graham Mertz had himself a game as well for the cardinal and white, completing 12-of-15 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns, completing passes to five different receivers. Mertz pushed his season total of touchdown passes to six, through the first three games. It took Mertz nine games to throw his sixth touchdown pass, during the 2021 season.
Mertz also threw his second interception of the season, which was tipped, on a pass intended for Skyler Bell.
Two of Mertz’s three touchdown passes went to Bell, who finished the game with four receptions for 108 yards, to go along with his two scores. While Keontez Lewis hauled in an 18-yard touchdown reception as well.
Wish Bell going over the century mark in the win, Wisconsin now has two 100-yard receivers in the first three games of the season, with Chimere Dike going to 106 yards in the season opener.
The last time Wisconsin had a 100 yard receiver, prior to Dike and Bell, was Quintez Chephus, during the 2019 season.
As you can imagine, with Wisconsin putting up 66 points, its passing game was not the only facet of the offense that was finding its stride in the win. Wisconsin totalled 595 yards, with 335 yards coming through the air and 260 coming on the ground.
Wisconsin had three players rush for 70-or-more yards in the game, with Allen’s 86 yards, Mellusi’s 71 yards on 10 carries and Guerendo’s 74 yards on 12 carries.
Guerendo capped off an 8-play, 70-yard drive in the third quarter, which was led by Myles Burkett, once Mertz’s day was done. Burkett was 3-3 for 63 yards on on the scoring drive, completing all three of his passes to Dean Engram, the converted defensive back, who recorded his first receptions of his career.
Burkett finished 4-of-5, for 84 yards.
Guerendo would later add a second rushing touchdown on a 30-yard rush.
Nate Van Zelst, who was filling in for Vito Calvaruso made his only field goal attempt, from 27 yards.
Defensively, Wisconsin was suffocating in the game, only allowing the Aggies to amass 242 total yards, most of which were gained on two drives — the Aggies closed out the first half with a 13-play, 82-yard drive, which ended in a missed field goal and the Aggies scored their only touchdown of the game, capping off a 7-play, 75-yard drive, with an Ahmonte Watkins, 1-yard touchdown run.
Apart from New Mexico State’s two drives where they amassed 20 plays, totalling 157 yards, the Aggie’s only managed 85 yards on it’s 46 other offensive plays, in the game.
New Mexico State finished 4-of-15 on third downs and converted 14 total first downs, with six of their first downs coming on their two most successful drives.
The Wisconsin defense also continued it’s trend of taking the ball away, forcing three turnovers — all interceptions, leading two 10 points off of turnovers.
Maema Njongmeta intercepted Gavin Frakes, setting up Allen’s second touchdown and Jake Chaney intercepted Frakes, which led to Van Zelsts’s field goal.
Ricardo Hallman intercepted Diego Pavia in the first quarter. Wisconsin now has seven interceptions on the season, by seven different players.
With Wisconsin’s non-conference slate of games coming to an end, the Badgers will travel to Columbus, OH, for a match up with No. 3 Ohio State (2-0, 0-0 conference) — at the time of posting, Ohio State was up 56-21 over Toledo, playing in its third game of the season.