Toon helps No. 6 Wisconsin beat South Dakota 59-10
MADISON Nick Toon had a career-high 155 yards receiving and two touchdowns, helping No. 6 Wisconsin rout South Dakota 59-10 at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday.
Wisconsin (4-0) recovered from a slow start to take control of the game with a 21-point outburst in the final six minutes of the second quarter.
James White had a 49-yard touchdown run, Toon scored on a 59-yard catch-and-run from quarterback Russell Wilson and Toon added another score with 12 seconds left to send Wisconsin into halftime with a 31-3 lead.
Wilson had another big day for the Badgers, completing 19 of 25 passes for 345 yards and three touchdowns before taking a seat in the fourth quarter.
Running back Montee Ball added a pair of touchdowns for Wisconsin, which will open its Big Ten schedule at home next week with a much stiffer challenger in No. 9 Nebraska.
Quarterback Dante Warren struggled for South Dakota (2-2), a Football Championship Subdivision school. He eventually was replaced by Josh Vander Maten, who led the Coyotes to a late score.
The Coyotes came into Saturday's game with some experience on the road in the Big Ten, having won at Minnesota last season. What they didn't have was an answer for Toon, the son of former Wisconsin and New York Jets standout Al Toon.
He had 151 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone. And while his scoring plays might get more attention, his most impressive play might have been a leaping one-handed catch in the first quarter.
Wisconsin didn't appear headed toward a rout early on, squandering a handful of scoring chances and allowing the Coyotes to stick around into the second quarter.
Trailing 7-0 after a touchdown by Ball, South Dakota drove into Wisconsin territory on back-to-back possessions in the first quarter — only to have them both end with interceptions by Wisconsin's defense, the first by safety Shelton Johnson and the second by linebacker Chris Borland. Johnson would leave with a leg injury later in the half.
But the Badgers managed only three points off of the two turnovers, a 25-yard field goal by Kyle French. French also missed a 50-yard attempt.
Wisconsin then allowed an even deeper drive by the Coyotes, holding on third-and-goal and forcing South Dakota to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Kevin Robb to cut the Wisconsin lead to 10-3 with 6:34 left in the second quarter.
Then Wisconsin took over, scoring three touchdowns in the final six minutes of the half.
White gave the Badgers some breathing room with a 49-yard touchdown run with 5:48 remaining. After a South Dakota punt, Toon took a short pass 59 yards for a touchdown.
The Badgers got the ball back in the final two minutes of the half, and a 45-yard pass from Wilson to Toon set the Badgers up for another scoring chance. Facing third-and-goal on the 2, Wilson found Toon in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. After a replay review confirmed the score, Wisconsin went into halftime leading 31-3.
It got ugly early in the second half, as Wilson threw a 51-yard touchdown to Jared Abbrederis — who made a handful of impressive blocks downfield in the first half — to put Wisconsin up 38-3 with 13:08 left in the third quarter.
Notes: Already somewhat thin in the secondary, Wisconsin lost Johnson to a leg injury in the first half. ... Abbrederis had a long punt return for a touchdown nullified by a penalty in the third quarter. ... South Dakota's Ed Meierkort began his head coaching career at Wisconsin-Stout.