Head coach Paul Chryst and the Wisconsin Badgers (2-1) took care of business at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday afternoon, beating the visiting New Mexico State Aggies (0-4) behind a dominant offensive performance and a strong defensive showing from Jim Leonhard and company.
Bobby Engram’s offense produced a balanced 595 total yards of offense (335 passing, 260 rushing) and scored 66 points while holding the Aggies to 242 yards – improving to 2-1 in non-conference play as the Badgers prepare for a grueling Big Ten slate.
For Wisconsin, this was the most points the Badgers had scored since 2014 when they hung 68 against BGSU. It’s also worth noting this is the most points scored in a single game during the Paul Chryst era.
Final score: Badgers 66, Aggies 7
Sep 17, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Chez Mellusi (1) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter against the New Mexico State Aggies at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Key to the game: Wisconsin's passing attack
Sep 17, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz (5) throws a pass during the third quarter against the New Mexico State Aggies at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Wisconsin did exactly what it needed to do on Saturday – dominate one of the worst teams in college football.
However, you can’t deny that Graham Mertz looked sharp yet again. He completed 12-of-15 passes for 251 yards with three touchdowns and an interception on the day – an average of 16.7 yards per attempt.
— Wisconsin On BTN (@WisconsinOnBTN) September 17, 2022
There’s no denying that QB1 looks much improved this season, specifically regarding accuracy.
Through three games, Mertz has Wisconsin looking like a team that can use the pass to set up its run game.
Hard to tell how much of what’s happening is due to the addition of Bobby Engram, but the balanced offensive attack is promising.
It was over when...
Sep 17, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; New Mexico State Aggies quarterback Diego Pavia (10) is tackled during the second quarter against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
This game was over the second New Mexico State agreed to travel to Madison for this non-conference matchup – if we’re being honest.
Wisconsin did what it wanted to do all afternoon on offense, and the defense dismantled the Aggies two quarterback system from the jump.
Of New Mexico States’ 15 possessions, eight ended in three and outs – and turned the ball over three times.
You can only take so much away from a game like this; however, the Badgers desperately needed a get-right game after last weekend’s loss, and this was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Game balls, players of the game
Sep 17, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Skyler Bell (11) rushes with the football after catching a pass during the second quarter against the New Mexico State Aggies at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
QB Graham Mertz: The Kansas native turned in another impressive outing. Despite his lone interception (which was tipped), Mertz looked confident and, more importantly, accurate all day long. Strong start to the year for the third-year starter.
WR Skyler Bell: After a breakout spring and fall camp, Skyler Bell had the breakout game Badgers fans have been waiting on. He caught four passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns, one of which went for 49 yards. His explosiveness could be an asset in Wisconsin’s improved passing attack.
Wisconsin’s RB room: If I were to single out any running back, it would feel criminal. The Badgers tailbacks ran for 260 yards on 5.7 yards per carry and found paydirt six times.
The entire defense: How do you pick a single player when more than half of the New Mexico State drives ended in three and outs? Outside of a late touchdown given up by the reserves, Jim Leonhard had his crew dialed in.
Play of the game: Ricardo Hallman INT
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) September 17, 2022
Sep 17, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Paul Chryst celebrates following a touchdown during the first quarter against the New Mexico State Aggies at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
The Wisconsin Badgers (2–1) will hit the road next weekend, playing the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0) at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, September 24.
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