No. 18 Wisconsin heads into an early bye week on a positive note after finding success through the air.

Tanner McEvoy had a confidence-building outing after throwing for three touchdowns and running for another score Saturday against lower-division Western Illinois.

With star running back Melvin Gordon held to 38 yards on 17 carries, McEvoy stepped up after a slow start.

It was valuable experience for the first-year starting quarterback, given opponents will likely continue to focus on the run until the Badgers show consistency through the air.

The Badgers' running game was also missing injured fullback Derek Watt, a key blocker. Still, right tackle Rob Havenstein says the offensive line has to open holes in the running game no matter how many defenders are in the box.