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Dr. Saturday

Montee Ball has huge day, sets Big Ten career touchdown record

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Dr. Saturday

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(Associated Press)

These are the kinds of days Montee Ball probably had in his mind when he decided to return for another season at Wisconsin.

Ball dominated Purdue and set the Big Ten record for career touchdowns with his 72nd, passing fellow Badger Ron Dayne in Wisconsin's 38-14 win.

His record-tying run was a thing of beauty. Ball juked a defender at the line of scrimmage, then a quick cut inside fooled three more Purdue defenders. He cut the run upfield and outran everyone to the goal line for a 67-yard score, for his 71st touchdown and a career long run.

The record setter was typical Ball. He ran off left tackle near the goal line and wouldn't be denied, running strong through a Purdue defender to break the plane and get touchdown No. 72.

Ball's senior season hasn't been as prolific as his junior year, when he was a Heisman finalist. Coming into Saturday he was averaging just 4 yards per carry, down 2.3 yards from last year. He lost his first career fumble and suffered a concussion on the same play against UTEP. Not to mention the ugly incident when he was attacked on campus before training camp began.

This was a classic Ball performance. He had 247 yards and three touchdowns, ran exceptionally hard and showed good vision hitting the hole against Purdue's defense. Wisconsin kept its hopes of making the Big Ten title game alive. A season that looked like it was headed to disappointment, for player and team, looks like it could turn out OK.

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