(Saturday, November 14th)
Final Score: (21) Wisconsin 45, Michigan 24
Madison, WI (Sports Network) - Scott Tolzien's seven-yard touchdown pass late in the third and his one-yard TD plunge early in the fourth broke open a close game, as 21st-ranked Wisconsin scored the game's final 17 points to down struggling Michigan, 45-24, at Camp Randall Stadium.
Tolzien finished 16-of-24 for 240 yards with four passing touchdowns and one rushing score, while John Clay ran for 151 yards on 26 carries.
Wisconsin (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten) withstood an early charge by the Wolverines (5-6, 1-6), who actually led 17-14 late in the second quarter before Clay's one-yard touchdown run late in the first half.
"Like I've been saying this whole time, our offense is very explosive. Once we get going, it's hard for us to be stopped," noted Clay.
The Badgers outscored Michigan, 31-7, following Ryan Van Bergen's fumble return in the second quarter, a defensive touchdown that gave Michigan a three-point edge.
Tate Forcier completed 20-of-26 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. He was the lone bright spot for the Wolverines offense.
"In the second half it just seems like, defensively, we're not able to get off the field," said Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez. "Our offense needs to be in a rhythm and we're not on the field much offensively. When the other team is controlling the ball, it's hard to get into a rhythm offensively. I think it's a combination of things. We need to evaluate everything - the players, teams, and try to come up with answers. That's my job as a coach."
Wisconsin exploited Michigan's primary weakness -- giving up big plays on defense -- on its initial series as Tolzien connected with Garrett Graham, who rumbled 22 yards into the end zone.
Michigan came right back as Forcier found Vincent Smith for a 21-yard touchdown connection down the seam. Smith caught seven passes for 54 yards on the game.
Jason Olesnavage's 37-yard field goal gave Michigan a 10-7 lead on a quick drive set up by an interception of Tolzien. The Badgers quarterback redeemed himself moments later, leading his team on a 14-play, 75-yard drive that ended with his eight-yard scoring strike to Nick Toon.
However, the Michigan defense caused a turnover that resulted in points. Tolzien was sacked and stripped by Brandon Graham, and Van Bergen picked up the football and ran 14 yards to the end zone for a 17-14 game.
Again, Tolzien kept his composure, quickly marching the Badgers 74 yards on six plays, leading to Clay's one-yard plunge and a 21-17 lead at halftime.
Wisconsin came out strong in the second half, going on an 80-yard, 10-play drive to paydirt. Tolzien found Toon again for a 15-yard touchdown and 28-17 lead. Forcier countered with his 10-yard pass to a wide open Roy Roundtree, cutting the deficit to 28-24 at the near midway point of the third.
It was all Wisconsin from there. Tolzien found Lance Kendricks for a seven- yard touchdown, putting a stamp on another lengthy, time-consuming march. The Badgers defense tightened in the final quarter with Tolzien's one-yard plunge putting the game away with about 11 minutes left and Philip Welch's 28-yard boot capping the scoring.
Wisconsin racked up 469 total yards to just 265 for Michigan...The Badgers were 6-of-12 on third down chances and averaged 4.4 yards per rush, double Michigan's 2.2 yards per carry...Roundtree caught seven passes for 56 yards in defeat...Toon hauled in five passes for 98 yards and his two touchdowns.
11/14 19:16:08 ET