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November 27, 2010MADISON - The Wisconsin offensive line has J.J. Watt confident he could do some damage on the ground.
"I think I might be able to run for 100 yards behind those guys," Watt said. "Our offensive line epitomizes our football team. They're unbelievable."
It's starting to feel like a broken record, but due to stellar play up front, the Wisconsin running backs ran over, through and around opposing defenders for the fourth straight game. This time, Montee Ball and James White combined for 317 yards and five touchdowns.
White eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark and Ball leads the team with 17 touchdowns. But none of that would have been possible without the nation's premier offensive line paving the way.
"The blocking has been good," senior John Moffitt said. "It really has. I think guys are prepared. We all know what we're doing when we go in there. Nothing's new. When we look at a defense we're all on the same page. I'm so impressed with James White and Montee Ball and the edge stuff that we've been able to put in as a result of them and their quickness.
"It really adds depth to our run game. We're not running between the tackles anymore. You've got to defend the sideline to. I think that's been a big difference from last year to this year."
Since John Clay went down with an injury at Purdue three weeks ago, Ball and White have combined for an unbelievable 982 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns. They have been electric, but so has the offensive line.
During that same three-game time span, UW has scored 201 points. A number that's difficult to fathom no matter where you play or what your role is.
"There's just been a lot of pieces to the puzzle both offensively and defensively," quarterback Scott Tolzien said. "Guys are just doing their jobs. It sounds ridiculous, but it's really nothing special. It's just guys doing their job and taking it one game at a time.
"Those are the results."
Watt turning pro?
Just watching Watt over the course of the season it's become obvious the junior defensive end has the skill set NFL scouts dream of. He's relentless on each play and has a will to win that's nearly unmatched.
Now, with arguably his best game in the books during the season finale, the talk of him turning pro has slowly started to settle in.
"I'm excited to get another game with him," UW head coach Bret Bielema said following the game. "Obviously there are certain guys that are going to have to make certain decisions in our program. We'll help them through that the next couple of weeks. We're just enjoying the moment and embracing everything it is."
Judging by the way Watt enjoyed the post game celebration with Badger fans it's obvious the underclassmen has a deep love for the game of college football. He put on a show defensively and he put on a show greeting and waving to fans on his way out.
Will that be the final time UW fans see him playing inside Camp Randall?
"I don't want to think about any of that right now," Watt said with a chuckle. "I'll think about that at a later date. Right now I'm just happy that was the last game of this year and we celebrated it the way we did."
-Lance Kendricks, who was injured following his touchdown reception in the second quarter, should be good to go for the bowl game. He apparently had the wind knocked out of him at the same time he was dealing with a bloody nose.
"I feel a lot better," Kendricks said. "They had to go in and X-Ray my chest to make sure I was fine. It turned out negative so I'm fine. My nose started bleeding when I hit the ground. I was choking on my blood as I was trying to catch my breath. It was just like a panic for a second."
-Antonio Fenelus suffered a sprained ankle but is also expected back for the bowl game. He nearly re-entered the game Saturday, but with the score well in hand it wasn't necessary.
-The Badgers clinched a share of the school's 12th Big Ten championship. It's the first one since 1999.
-UW's reached the 11-win plateau for only the second time in school history. The first occurred during Bielema's first season as head coach.
-Heading into this season, the Badgers had never scored more than 70 points in a game since 1915. They reached that mark three times this season.
-With five more rushing touchdowns on the day, UW extended it's single-season school record to 46 rushing touchdowns for the season.
-Tolzien tied a career high with four touchdown passes. He also finished with a pass efficiency rating of 250.1, good for the fifth-best single-game pass efficiency in school history.
-Montee Ball scored four touchdowns for the second consecutive game, becoming just the second player in UW history to record the feat in back-to-back weeks.
-Jay Valai's interception in the first quarter was his first of the season. He also forced a fumble later in the game.
-J.J. Watt forced two fumbles and pressured NU into three interceptions. He also blocked an extra point and recorded three tackles for loss and a sack. Talk about a stat line.
-Antonio Fenelus's interception in the first half was his fourth of the season and fifth of his career. Over the past four games, the junior has recorded two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and forced a fumble.
-Bielema on the decision to take a knee late in the fourth quarter:
"My coaches were actually coming down because I wanted them to be on the field for the award ceremony. So Paul Chryst wasn't up there. Coach Bob Bostad was giving calls and Tolzien is giving calls. I was like, 'Hey, if we get a first down we're taking a knee and moving forward.' We'll let everybody else talk about it."
-John Clay on playing a little bit:
"Just being able to get hit again really gave me that confidence. The boys were rolling so I told coach to let them keep going. They did an excellent job. James finished out the game great and so did Montee."