Badgers rout New Mexico State 66-7, Mertz shines, Allen bounces back
MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Badgers roll past New Mexico State 66-7.
The Badgers wasted no time putting points up on the board. Braelon Allen struggled last week, finishing with 21 carries for just 98 yards. He put the first six points up on the board for the Badgers. After the PAT, Wisconsin took an early 7-0 lead over New Mexico State.
The Badgers defense also started with plenty of intensity. That's the defense fans were looking for like in their Week 1 matchup against Illinois State.
In the first quarter, we saw much more of the run game than the passing game. Graham Mertz had just four passing attempts in quarter one.
The first quarter was all Wisconsin. NMSU showed limited flashes on both sides of the ball and just couldn't find any momentum.
The Badgers opened up the second quarter with a two-yard run by Chez Mellusi. After the PAT, the Badgers took a 14-0 lead.
When we say this game has been all Wisconsin, we're not kidding. Their next drive, the Badgers marched down the field and Mertz threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to UCLA transfer receiver Keontez Lewis for his first career touchdown reception as a Badger. After the PAT, the Badgers took a commanding 21-0 lead over NMSU.
By this point in the game, a little over 12 minutes left, it's worth noting that the Badgers' offense had 10 first downs while NMSU had just one on the day.
NMSU was in bad field position when their freshman quarterback Gavin Frakes threw a tipped interception. After that, Allen ran it in for another goal line touchdown. After the PAT, the Badgers now had a 28-0 lead.
By this time, the Badgers have scored three touchdowns in four minutes. The momentum has been all Wisconsin thus far.
On their next drive, the Badgers marched down the field again and Allen ran it in to put another six points on the board. After the PAT, it was 35-0 Badgers.
As mentioned, the Badgers defense put on a show, and one of the stars was Nick Herbig. About halfway through the second quarter, Herbig recorded a sack, his fourth sack in 2.5 games.
With about three minutes left, Mertz threw an interception to record his first turnover of the game.
Right before halftime, NMSU missed a field goal that would've put their first points on the board for them.
By halftime, the Badgers had a 35-0 lead over NMSU. Allen had three rushing touchdowns while Herbig had three tackles and a sack.
Once the third quarter began, the Badgers started to open up the playbook more, especially in the passing game. Mertz threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to freshman receiver Skyler Bell, a player that turned heads during camp before the season started. That was Bell's first touchdown reception as a Badger. After the PAT, the Badgers had a 42-0 lead over NMSU.
According to Evan Flood of 247 Sports, this is also the first time in his career that Mertz has had three straight 200-yard passing games.
That wasn't all from Bell. He also had another 18-yard touchdown catch. 49-0 after the PAT.
Towards the end of the third quarter, Franklin native Myles Burkett entered the game. While in the game, He handed the ball off to Isaac Guerendo for a three-yard touchdown. After the PAT, it was 56-0 Badgers.
Mertz finished the day going 12/15, 251 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
By the end of three quarters, it was 56-0 Badgers.
Early in the fourth quarter, Badgers' true freshman Austin Brown a stop that turned into a Jake Chaney interception. During the Badgers' offensive drive, Guerendo ran it 30 yards for another Badgers touchdown. After the PAT, it was 63-0 Badgers.
NMSU put up their first points with a one-yard touchdown run by Ahmonte Watkins. After the PAT, it was 63-7 Badgers.
After that, the Badgers marched down the field and kicked a 27-yard field goal to make it 66-7.
Next week, the Badgers head to Columbus for a tough matchup against the Ohio State Buckeyes.