Badgers annihilate Northwestern in Jim Leonhard’s coaching debut.

This is what Wisconsin is supposed to look like.

Wisconsin overwhelmed Northwestern 42-7 on Saturday afternoon at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois.

Quarterback Graham Mertz had an efficient game, going 20/29, 299 yards five touchdowns and zero interceptions. Three of those five touchdowns went to junior wide receiver Chimere Dike as he had 10 catches for 185 yards, receivers Skylar Bell and Markus Allen also hauled in touchdown passes from Mertz.

Wisconsin added some new wrinkles to the offensive game-plan on Saturday; for the first time all season, Wisconsin operated out of the pistol formation and kept Mertz clean as he wasn’t sacked for the first time all season. Wisconsin also utilized freshman speedster Vinny Anthony II on a jet sweep early in the first quarter to pick up a first down on the first drive of the game.

After only rushing for two yards last week against Illinois, the Badgers went back to pounding the football as they 193 yards rushing on 38 carries. Braelon Allen had 23 carries for 135 yards and threw a 23-yard touchdown to his running back counterpart Chez Mellusi who added 10 carries for 31 yards.

Wisconsin also employed a wildcat formation that they implemented last week and while Allen did throw a touchdown, it still needs work because every time Braelon Allen is in the wildcat, teams’ are expecting Allen to run the ball. I’d like to see guys such as Chez Mellusi or fullback Jackson Acker get a couple of those carries to keep the defense off-balance.

What more can be said about Wisconsin’s defense?

Granted Northwestern’s QB room isn’t exactly strong but it was a dominant performance for the defense on Saturday. Junior safety Kamo’i Latu picked off two Ryan Hilinski passes and junior outside linebacker Nick Herbig led the team in tackles with seven and picked up a sack.

OTHER NEWS:

Wisconsin cornerback Cedrick Dort suffered a scary head injury in Saturday’s game; Dort was carted off the field and interim head coach Jim Leonhard said “Dort is doing much better.”

Senior nose tackle Keeanu Benton left Saturday’s contest after appearing to go knee to knee with another Northwestern player.

Chimere Dike was the first Wisconsin receiver to have three touchdowns in a game since Danny Davis did it in the Orange Bowl against Miami (FL) in 2017.

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