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October 2, 2011

Notes and quotes: Nebraska

MADISON - Though the scoreboard indicates a pretty lopsided affair, there's no doubt Wisconsin's 48-17 win over Nebraska took its toll physically. Several UW players were dinged up Saturday night.

Luckily for Wisconsin moving forward, none seem to be too serious.

Kevin Zeitler, UW's All-Conference right guard, aggravated his right ankle late in the fourth quarter against Nebraska. According to Zeitler, it's the same ankle he tweaked during fall camp.

The bye week couldn't have come at a better time.

"It's just sore right now," Zeitler said. "I got some X-Rays and there is nothing broke or anything. I'll know more in the morning after all the adrenaline wears off. I have a bye week to recover.

"I'm optimistic."

When Zeitler originally suffered a high ankle sprain in August, the injury kept him out a couple of weeks. Because UW doesn't play a game for 14 days, it seems as though Zeitler will have an opportunity to get back in the action sooner rather than later.

"I've been lucky in the past," Zeitler said in reference to his prior ankle injuries. "Hopefully I'll get lucky again."

More from the infirmary:

-Senior tight end Jake Byrne suffered leg cramps toward the end of Saturday's game against Nebraska. He'll be good to go when UW returns to the field against Indiana on Oct. 15th.

-Dezmen Southward, who left the game in the second half after taking a big hit on a contested ball, eventually returned to the Saturday's game. He should be fine to play next time out.

-Junior strong safety Shelton Johnson missed Saturday's game with a lower leg injury. He will likely make his return following the bye week.

-Reserve Adam Hampton suffered a hamstring injury during practice this week. He was not available Saturday night.

-David Gilbert, as originally reported by Madison.com, will miss four-to-six weeks with a broken foot.

"On Tuesday he just caught his foot kind of sideways and broke his foot," UW head coach Bret Bielema said. "He actually had surgery on Wednesday and has already started the road to recovery."

Team notes:

-With its win, Wisconsin improved to 5-0 on the season. That's the third time in the past five seasons that feat has been accomplished.

-UW has now won its past eight conference games by an average of 26.8 points.

-The 31-point final margin ties UW's largest-ever win over a team ranked in the top 10 nationally. That last time it happened was in 1962 when the Badgers beat No. 1-ranked Northwestern 37-6.

-Wisconsin has forced five turnovers throughout the course of its past two games. Different players have caught all five interceptions.

-UW rushed for a collective 61 yards on 20 carries throughout the first half of Saturday's win. Once the second half rolled around things opened up. UW rushed for 170 yards on 30 carries in the second half alone.

-With an 8-of-12 performance on third down conversions Saturday night, Wisconsin now has converted 62 percent of its third-down tries in 2011.

Individual notes:

-Russell Wilson has now thrown at least one touchdown pass in 29-straight games. That is currently the longest streak in the country. He has also thrown at least two touchdown passes in each of his five games as a Badgers.

-Wilson was also 6-for-6 passing on third down, good for six first down conversions. He also converted a third and five with a 16-yard run. The versatile senior also rushed for a touchdown, the second such touchdown of the season. What can't he do?

-Nick Toon has now caught at least one touchdown in each of the past four games. That is the best such streak since Jonathan Orr went five consecutive games with a touchdown reception in 2002.

-Toon also passed his father, Al Toon, on UW's all-time receptions list. Toon now sits alone in fourth place in that category.

-Montee Ball has now scored a touchdown in 11 consecutive games. He now has 29 total touchdowns during that span.

-Mike Taylor had a night. The junior linebacker recorded his fourth-career interception and logged a career-high 14 tackles.

-Jared Abbrederis has now caught a touchdown pass in back-to-back games. His grab in the second quarter marked his fifth-career touchdown reception.

-Aaron Henry and Antonio Fenelus each had their first interception of the season. Henry now has four career interceptions while Fenelus now has six.

Quotable:

-Aaron Henry on facing adversity:

"We were trading blow-for-blow. It was like a heavyweight fight. Eventually somebody is going to give in. All week people were talking about how this was going to be a four-quarter game. It doesn't have to be a four-quarter game. If we blow the lid off this thing and force them to do things they aren't comfortable doing it doesn't have to be a four-quarter game at all."

-Mike Taylor on getting used to Martinez's abilities:

"It was probably just getting used to better players and more speed. There was nothing like that during the first four games, speed wise and with their offensive lineman. I think we adjusted to it well after that first quarter."

-Travis Frederick on staying even-keeled during the win:

"I didn't see anybody put their chin down when Nebraska scored. I didn't see anybody that wasn't even-keeled. For me, that was really exciting to see. People weren't going to get down. People were going to stick it out no matter what happens."

-Chris Borland on what kept Nebraska's running game in check:

"Leverage is always key on defense, especially with how they like to get it outside. You've got to cup the ball and keep it inside. We did that today. They didn't really have too many long runs on the outside."

-Montee Ball on whether this team is great:

"I would call us a great team, but that is only words. We've got to make sure we keep playing hard and keep practicing hard. We've got to carry that forward to the game."

-Peter Konz on the balance of the offense:

"When you're on the field and one or two things don't work, with the balanced attack you know something will. Something is going to break. You're going to find something in the defense. It's just a very reassuring feeling."

-Nick Toon on his acrobatic 38-yard reception:

"I just jumped up. The ball was kind of on my outside and I was able to get both of my hands on it. I just reeled it in and secured it as I came down."

-Russell Wilson on whether anything gets him rattled:

"Nothing. I've been through so much in my life. Just ups and downs, with my dad and just stuff in general. This is a great opportunity for me and I'm just blessed to have this opportunity and try to stay as relaxed as I can."






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