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GAME NOTES: Wisconsin 66, New Mexico State 7

Quotes and notes from Wisconsin’s dominating victory

NCAA Football: New Mexico State at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Notable Quotes:

  • Paul Chryst’s opening statement from his postgame press conference

“Certainly proud of the way the guys handled the whole week. Any time you get a chance to play a game and earn the right to win, you appreciate that. You’re grateful for all the work that goes into it. I thought one thing that hit me today watching it was there was a lot of guys that got it going and allowed others to — we were able to play a lot of guys.

That happens because you had a group take care of business and give them the opportunity to play. That’s always good. Every first rep for a guy or added reps are huge. That part was good.”

  • Chryst on the defense forcing turnovers

“I think obviously they’re big plays and it’s been fun to see. I thought (Maema Njongmeta) was a heck of a pick today. You know, that was impressive. Jake (Chaney), everyone is excited about that one. We would to — Jay (Shaw) had one opportunity at one. Guys value it and they know, and I think our coaches do a great job putting them in position and coaching them to trust it and go for it.

And so takeaways are huge. You take them in any fashion. It’s been fun to see the number of guys getting them.”

  • Chryst on Wisconsin’s pass protection

“I think we weren’t good on the first third down tonight, or this afternoon. Yeah, I think certainly guys work at it and take pride and I think that takes everyone on it. I think Graham (Mertz) has been doing a good job of getting the ball out, and it helps when there is guys open. Competition gets tougher, you know, you’ll be challenged more.

But to win games we’re going to have to be able to run the ball and be able to throw it. I think we got to keep going.”

  • Chryst on getting the opportunity to play so many players

“I think it’s certainly meaningful. You know you see it and you feel it on the sideline. There is a lot of guys that put in a ton of work and not all get to play in the games.

So when there are those opportunities, there truly is an energetically on the sidelines when guys make plays. I know it’s probably at the end of the game and to many it seems meaningless, but, you know, Amaun (Williams) made a nice tackle and there was an excitement right there. People were fired up about Jake’s (Chaney) pick and to get to see Julius (Davis) going and for Isaac (Guerendo) to get — Isaac was playing early in the game, but any time you’re going and add a lot of guys, number of guys that during the week on the scout team and they’re playing.

Couple of those guys on defense, we all know how much they put into it. I know, and you talk to our guys, we always value the first snaps or the first time that they make a tackle or get a completion, whatever that may be, right? It’s real to them. So that part, that’s where I appreciate what everyone did to give those guys that opportunity.”

  • Chryst on Wisconsin wearing red pants and whether he fought against it

“You know enough to ask it that way. You know what? We got some guys and I feel good with this. They’re in charge of it. I don’t care as long as they play well.”

  • Braelon Allen on Wisconsin wearing red pants and whether it was his doing or not

“I mean I don’t want to take all the credit but, yeah. I kinds of brought it up to him (Chryst) in the beginning of the summer, I just threw the idea out there, I was giving him a couple of ideas, you know, things we can do to switch it up a little bit, he was all for it, he kind of left it up to — we have a uniform committee who kind of comes up with combinations, it’s cool to be able to wear something different, we’re kind of traditional, so to be able to throw some different things in there is nice.”

  • Allen on playing Ohio State next week

“I think it’s a great opportunity for us , it’s cool to be able to talk about it now, because you know you’re supposed to take it week-by-week, now that it’s coming up, it’s probably the biggest game that I have played in, as well a lot of my teammates, but at the same time we’ve gotta look at it like another game, approach it the same way, obviously I would say the focus at practice is going to be a little different, just cause we know who we’re playing, we don’t want to take them lightly by any means — I am definitely excited for the opportunity.”

  • Graham Mertz on how dangerous the offense can be with all of the playmakers that it has

“I think it’s dangerous, the cool thing is like, we’ve been working for so long, it’s cool to kind of have the world meet the guys, I know what they’re about, I know how they go about their business every day, so it’s cool to be able to do my job and let them have fun out there.”

  • Mertz on next weekend’s game

“You gotta win every day — we’re Wisconsin, I think what we gotta do is do our job and play our style of ball, but tonight I am just grateful for how the guys played, so we’re gonna soak that up and tomorrow, hit the ground running.”

  • Skyler Bell on scoring in the game

“It felt good you know, the first one, it was a rush, I kind of didn’t know what to do when you get in there for the first one, but it’s fun, using my speed and being able to beat DB’s on deep balls, that a part of my game that I like a lot.”

Game Notes - Provided by the University of Wisconsin Athletic Department


  • Today’s captains: senior NT Keeanu Benton, junior ILB Nick Herbig, junior QB Graham Mertz
  • Today’s attendance: 73,080
  • Paul Chryst improved to 67-24 (.736) in his 8th season as Wisconsin’s head coach. Chryst is now one win away from tying Bret Bielema for 2nd all-time in head coaching wins at Wisconsin.


Coach (Years) Wins

1. Barry Alvarez (1990-2005)* 119

2. Bret Bielema (2006-12) 68

3. Paul Chryst (2015-present) 67

4. Phil King (1896-1902, ’05) 65

5. Milt Bruhn (1956-66) 52

* Also served as coach in 2 bowl games (2012, 2014)

Under Chryst, Wisconsin is:

  • 24-5 (.828) in non-conference games
  • 21-5 (.808) in the month of September
  • 38-9 (.809) at Camp Randall Stadium
  • With 66 points, thee Badgers topped the 60-point mark for the first time since a 61-0 win over Central Michigan on Sept. 9, 2019.
  • UW’s scoring output marked the most points by the Badgers in a game since a 68-17 win over Bowling Green on Sept. 20, 2014.
  • Wisconsin’s 59-point margin of victory is the Badgers’ largest since winning by 63 points in a 83-20 triumph over Indiana on Nov. 13, 2010.
  • The Badgers racked up 595 total yards, their most in a game since recording 606 in a 45-24 win over Purdue on Nov. 23, 2019.
  • Wisconsin’s 335 passing yards are its most in a game since throwing for 400 vs. Central Michigan on Sept. 7, 2019.
  • Wisconsin tallied 6 rushing touchdowns for the first time since scoring 7 times on the ground vs. Nebraska on Nov. 15, 2014.
  • Three UW running backs recorded carries of 25+ yards in the win, the second time the unit has achieved the feat this season. The group did so on 5 occasions last season.
  • Dating back to last season, Wisconsin has intercepted a pass in 8 straight games. The streak is the longest for the Badgers since the 2017 defensive unit accomplished an 8-game streak of interceptions from Sept. 16 to Nov. 11.
  • Wisconsin held the New Mexico State offense to a 4-of-15 showing on 3rd down. Wisconsin has now held opponents to a 24.3% conversion rate (9 of 37) on 3rd down this season. Wisconsin has ranked among the FBS’ top 5 in lowest opponent 3rd-down conversion rate in 5 of the last 6 seasons.
  • Wisconsin totaled 35 first half points in the win, its most since racking up 44 in the first half of a 61-0 win over Central Michigan on Sept. 7, 2019.


  • Junior QB Graham Mertz threw for 251 yards and 3 touchdowns on 12-of-15 (80.0%) passing.
  • Mertz posted a 273.2 pass efficiency rating, a career best and the 3rd-highest in program history:


1. John Stocco vs. Indiana, 9/30/2006 296.7

2. Alex Hornibrook vs. BYU, 9/16/2017 277.4

3. Graham Mertz vs. NM State, 9/17/2022 273.2

4. Graham Mertz vs. Illinois, 10/23/2020 273.0

5. Jim Sorgi vs. Michigan State, 11/15/2003 268.4

  • Mertz eclipsed the 200-yard mark for the 3rd-straight game, the longest streak of his career. The last Badger to record 3 straight performances of 200-plus yards was Jack Coan in 2019.
  • Mertz has completed at least 70% of his passes in 4 of his last 7 games, dating back to last season. The Badgers signal caller has completed of 46 of 60 passes this season (76.7%) and has logged a pair of 80% or better passing performances through 3 games this season.
  • Freshman WR Skyler Bell caught 4 passes for 108 yards and 2 touchdowns, all career highs.
  • Bell reached the end zone for the first time in his career with a career-long 49-yard TD catch in the 3rd quarter. He added an 18-yard touchdown reception later in the 3rd quarter. Bell recorded multiple catches for the third straight game.
  • Sophomore WR Keontez Lewis grabbed his first collegiate touchdown on an 18-yard pass from Mertz in the second quarter. Lewis has recorded 3 catches for 70 yards over the last two games.
  • Sophomore RB Braelon Allen ran for 3 touchdowns in the first half, pushing him to 17 career scores through 15 games. Former Badger standout Jonathan Taylor also reached the 15-touchdown milestone in his 15th career game. Allen finished with 15 carries for 86 yards.
  • Allen is the first UW running back to reach the 17-touchdown mark in 15 or fewer career games since PJ HIll (2006-07). Allen has broken off runs of 35+ yards in 7 of the 14 games in which he’s seen snaps at running back.
  • Senior RB Isaac Guerendo had 12 carries for 74 yards and scored a career-high 2 rushing TDs. Guerendo has scored 3 touchdowns in 3 games this season. He entered the year with 1 touchdown run for his career.
  • Senior RB Chez Mellusi carried 10 times for 71 yards and scored his first touchdown of the season, a 2-yard run on the first play of the second quarter. Mellusi scored 4 times on the ground last season.
  • Junior RB Julius Davis recorded 5 carries for 45 yards, the second-highest rushing output of his career. His total included a career-long 33-yard run.
  • Freshman QB Myles Burkett threw his first passes as a Badger, going 4-for-5 for 84 yards in the second game appearance of his career. Burkett completed the first pass of his career, a 4-yarder to WR Dean Engram, in the 3rd quarter.
  • Junior WR Dean Engram made 3 catches for 63 yards, including a 37-yard reception from QB Myles Burkett in the third quarter. He logged his first career reception earlier in the third quarter.
  • Freshman CB Ricardo Hallman snagged his first career interception, picking off a Diego Pavia pass in the first quarter.
  • Junior ILB Maema Njongmeta intercepted the first pass of his career, a second-quarter pick that setup a Wisconsin score.
  • Sophomore ILB Jake Chaney tallied the first interception of his career and registered a career-high 4 tackles. Chaney also logged 1.0 tackle for loss, the first TFL of his career.
  • Junior OLB Nick Herbig recorded a sack for the 4th-straight game, dating back to last season. The streak is the longest of his career and gives him 14 career sacks.
  • Senior OLB C.J. Goetz totaled 6 tackles for the Badgers, a season high. The 6 tackles were his most since recording a career-high 7 vs. Army on Oct. 16, 2021. Goetz’s 1.5 TFLs also matched a career high set in the Army matchup.
  • Freshman K Nate Van Zelst knocked in a 27-yard field goal and went 9-for-9 on PATs in his first collegiate action.
  • Freshman K Gavin Lahm handled kickoff duties for the first time in his collegiate career and recorded 6 touchbacks on 11 kickoffs.