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Recap: Wisconsin embarrasses Michigan at The Big House, 49-11

Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News

Game summary

Michigan was handed another embarrassing loss on its own home turf on Saturday night, as the visiting Wisconsin Badgers outmatched their opponent in every dimension en route to a 49-11 beatdown of the Wolverines. 

Joe Milton threw interceptions on his first two throws of the game and was later benched for sophomore backup Cade McNamara, who scored four plays into his season debut. Michigan (1-3) picked up just 219 total yards on offense while Wisconsin (2-0) totaled 468 while averaging just under 7 yards per carry. 

Final leaders

Passing

UM - Joe Milton: 9/19, 98 yds., 2 Int.

UW - Graham Mertz: 12/22, 127 yds., 2 TD

Rushing

UM - Zach Charbonnet: 3 att., 21 yds.

UW - Jalen Berger: 15 att., 87 yds., TD

Receiving

UM - Ronnie Bell: 4 rec., 56 yds.

UW - Jake Ferguson: 4 rec., 51 yds.

Wisconsin grinds out clock in 38-point win

Wisconsin takes over at the 20.

Stephan Bracey rushes for 3 yards on first down. John Chenal moves the chains with rushes for 5 and 4 yards.

Berger for 8. Chenal for 9. Wash, rinse, repeat. Victory formation. Game over. Badgers win.

FINAL: WISCONSIN 49, MICHIGAN 11

Michigan runs three plays that go for no gain, punts

Michigan takes over at the 35 after a nice return by Blake Corum.

Corum is stuffed for no gain on first and second down. Cade McNamara throws complete on third down, but that's also for no gain. Not great!

Wisconsin 49, Michigan 11 (5:34 4th)

Wisconsin makes it 49-11 with three-play, 72-yard drive

Wisconsin takes over from its own 28.

John Chenal on first down gets his first carry of the game, rushing for 43 yards to the Michigan 29.

Chenal rushes for 6 yards on the next play. Jalen Berger rushes for a 23-yard touchdown on the play after that. 

Wisconsin 49, Michigan 11 (7:34 4th)

McNamara cools off after scorching start

Blake Corum's return gives Michigan starting field position at the 25.

Cade McNamara's first-down throw is short of the target. He misses on second and third down, too. Brad Robbins punts it away, downed at the Wisconsin 28.

Wisconsin 42, Michigan 11 (9:08 4th)

Wisconsin gets second chance, takes 42-11 lead

Wisconsin takes over at the 25. The Badgers lead 35-11 with 3:00 left in the third.

Jalen Berger gets 4 yards on first down and another yard on second down. The Wolverines force an incompletion on third down, but get a penalty for roughing the kicker.

That's a 5-yard penalty and an automatic first down. Shame.

Nakia Watson rushes for a yard on first down. Graham Mertz throws a 6-yard completion to Danny Davis on second down.

END 3RD: Wisconsin 35, Michigan 11

Mertz keeps the drive alive with an 18-yard completion to Jake Ferguson. 

Jalen Berger rushes for 4 yards. Danny Davis rushes for 10 yards, then rushes for 6 more yards to make it second-and-4 at the 20. Berger rushes for 4 yards to move the chains.

Berger is stuffed for no gain on first down. He picks up 9 on second down. Mason Stokke rushes for 3 yards to move the chains, bringing up first-and-goal at the 4.

Davis scores on a 4-yard run.

Wisconsin 42, Michigan 11 (9:36 4th)

Cade McNamara scores in four plays at quarterback for Michigan

Michigan takes over at the 25 with backup sophomore Cade McNamara replacing Joe Milton at quarterback.

McNamara throws a strike on his first pass, hitting Ronnie Bell for a gain of 23 to the Michigan 48.

Blake Corum rushes for a yard on the next play. 

McNamara throws a strike to Nick Eubanks for a 28-yard completion that keeps the Wolverines moving to the Wisconsin 23. McNamara throws to the end zone on the next play, a 23-yard touchdown throw to Mike Sainristil.

The two-point conversion is good. Michigan trails by 24.

Wisconsin 35, Michigan 11 (3:00 3rd)

Wisconsin takes advantage of personal foul, grabs 35-3 lead

Wisconsin takes over at the Michigan 44 after a lack-luster punt by Brad Robbins. The Badgers lead 28-3 with 7:24 left in the third quarter.

Carlo Kemp comes up with Michigan's first sack of the night, taking down Graham Mertz for a loss of 4. Danny Davis rushes for 7 yards on second down. Brad Hawkins hits Davis after going out of bounds, however, which nets a 15-yard personal foul penalty. Just disgraceful.

It's first-and-10 from the Michigan 26, where Davis takes off for a 12-yard run and another first down.

Timeout #1 Wisconsin (5:27 3rd)

Jalen Berger rushes for a yard. Jake Ferguson comes down with a 13-yard touchdown pass to put the final nail in Michigan's coffin.

Wisconsin 35, Michigan 3 (4:45 3rd)

Michigan can't get out of own way, goes three-and-out again

Michigan will take over from its own 4. The Wolverines trail 28-3 with 9:04 to go in the third quarter.

Zach Charbonnet rushes for 4 yards on first down. Joe Milton's second-down throw is batted into the air and nearly intercepted, but Erick All is able to grab the jump ball for a loss of 1. Milton's third-down throw should have been intercepted, but is dropped.

Brad Robbins' punt is fair caught at the 44 of Michigan.

Wisconsin 28, Michigan 3 (7:24 3rd)

Michigan forces punt from own side of field

Wisconsin takes over at the 25, leading 28-3 with just under 13 minutes to go in the third quarter.

Nakia Watson rushes for 7 yards on the first play. He's then dropped by Cam McGrone for a loss of 1. Graham Mertz throws complete to Jake Ferguson on third down for a gain of 6 to the Wisconsin 37.

Danny Davis again makes a catch, drops it, and it's recovered by Michigan. But again, this will probably because he never had control of the football.

The play is overturned. It's second-and-10 for the Badgers. Kendric Pryor rushes for 7 yards. A third-down throw to Davis is broken up by Chris Hinton.

The punt is downed at Michigan's 4.

Wisconsin 28, Michigan 3 (9:04 3rd)

Michigan cuts 28-point deficit to 25 with field goal

Michigan takes over at the 25, trailing by 28 to open the third quarter.

Joe Milton on first down throws complete to Ronnie Bell for a pickup of 21, then hits Bell on the next play for a gain of 12 to the Wisconsin 42.

Zach Charbonnet rushes for 14 yards on the next play.

Joe Milton then throws three straight incompletions, and Michigan trots out the field-goal kicker.

The 46-yard attempt as good, and Wisconsin goes from having a four-score lead to having a four-score lead.

Wisconsin 28, Michigan 3 (12:52 3rd)

Halftime leaders

Passing

UM - Joe Milton: 6/12, 66 yds., 2 Int. 

UW - Graham Mertz: 8/15, 84 yds., TD

Rushing

UM - Joe Milton: 7 att., 15 yds.

UW - Nakia Watson: 8 att., 40 yds., 2 TD

Receiving

UM - Chris Evans: 2 rec., 16 yds.

UW - Chimere Dike: 2 rec., 29 yds.

Michigan enters locker room trailing 28-0

Wisconsin takes over at its own 1-yard-line after getting the stop.

Graham Mertz rushes for 3 yards on first down. Mason Stokke rushes for 6 yards on second down. Nakia Watson moves the chains with a 4-yard gain.

Kendrick Pryor hauls in a 20-yard throw on first down to the Wisconsin 34.

Watson rushes for 5 yards on the next play. Gemon Green forces a fumble on second down, and Josh Ross recovers at the Wisconsin 47. After review, the call is overturned. It's third-and-5. Jalen Berger is stopped for no gain on third down.

Timeout #2 Michigan (1:05 2nd)

Michigan takes over at its 17 with 0:57 left and one timeout.

Joe Milton completes a throw to Chris Evans but is then sacked for a loss of 4. He rushes for 7 yards.

Mercifully, the half is over.

END 2ND: Wisconsin 28, Michigan 0

Michigan stopped at goal line with chance to get on board

Michigan takes over at the 25.

Joe Milton on first down throws complete to AJ Henning for a loss of 1. Milton somehow escapes a sack on second down and just throws the ball away.

Milton makes a beautiful throw down the sideline, his first good pass of the game, to Giles Jackson for a 36-yard gain to the Wisconsin 40.

Hassan Haskins rushes for 6 yards on the next play. Milton loses a yard on second down but throws complete to Nick Eubanks for a pickup of 13 to the Wisconsin 22, where the Wolverines will have it first-and-10.

Milton has Corum wide open for an easy touchdown, but he overthrows the receiver. It's incomplete. Corum rushes for 4 yards. Milton takes off on third down, moving the chains with a gain of 9.

Corum rushes for a yard on the next play. Milton hits Erick All on second down, but it's only for a gain of 2.

Timeout #1 Michigan (4:44 2nd)

Chris Evans catches a pass in the flat and appears to have scored, but the play is overturned. He's down at the 1, where it'll be fourth-and-goal. 

Timeout #1 Wisconsin (4:37 2nd)

Milton is stuffed for no gain on fourth down.

Wisconsin 28, Michigan 0 (4:34 2nd)

Wisconsin beating the brakes off Michigan 28-0 in second quarter

Wisconsin takes over at its own 28.

Graham Mertz's first-down pass is incomplete. Jalen Berger rushes for 18 yards to the Badger 44 on the next play.

Berger picks up 7 yards with the carry on first down. Chimere Dike hauls in a throw for 19 yards to the Michigan 30, and the Badgers are already within striking distance of the end zone.

Nakia Watson rushes for 5 yards on first down. Mertz takes a shot to the end zone on second down, and while the pass falls incomplete, there is a pass interference penalty on Michigan.

Watson rushes for a 10-yard touchdown on the next play.

Wisconsin 28, Michigan 0 (10:07 2nd)

Michigan looking for answers in pathetic offensive start

Michigan takes over at the 28. The Wolverines trail 21-0 early in the second quarter.

Joe Milton throws just a touch too far for Cornelius Johnson on first down, incomplete. Milton rushes for 2 yards on second down. They surrender the drive by handing off to Zach Charbonnet, which only nets 3 yards.

Brad Robbins' punt is downed at the 26.

Wisconsin 21, Michigan 0 (13:07 2nd)

Wisconsin bullies Michigan en route to 21-0 lead 

Wisconsin takes over with a 14-0 lead at the Wisconsin 40.

Danny Davis shows off the wheels on first down, getting to the Michigan 42 for a gain of 18. 

Vincent Gray again forces an incompletion with good coverage on a deep ball. Graham Mertz on second down flips to Jake Ferguson for a gain of 14, bringing up first-and-10 at the Michigan 28.

Jalen Berger rushes for 3 yards on first down. Mertz goes back to Berger on second down, this time picking up 8 yards and a new set of downs.

Mertz fakes the give and throws to Kendric Pryor for a 7-yard gain. Nakia Watson on second down pushes forward to the 9-yard-line, a gain of 1.

Davis rushes for 8 yards to the Michigan 1, bringing the first quarter to a close.

END 1ST: Wisconsin 14, Michigan 0

Mason Stokke has his second touchdown of the game with a 1-yard run.

Wisconsin 21, Michigan 0 (14:54 2nd)

Michigan doesn't turn ball over, still goes three-and-out

Michigan takes over at the 25. The Wolverines trail 14-0 with 6:08 to go in the first quarter.

Blake Corum rushes for 2 yards on first down. AJ Henning's second-down run is snuffed out for no gain. It's impressive he even got back to the line of scrimmage. Joe Milton's throw on third down is into coverage, broken up.

 Brad Robbins' punt is returned to the Wisconsin 40.

Wisconsin 14, Michigan 0 (4:30 1st)

Wisconsin takes 14-0 lead after another Michigan turnover

Wisconsin takes over at the Michigan 14 after a 31-yard return on the interception by Leo Chenal. Wisconsin leads 7-0 with 7:46 in the first quarter.

Graham Mertz on first down throws incomplete to the end zone. Jalen Berger rushes for 3 on second down.

Mertz throws a 10-yard completion to Chimere Dike on first down then hits Mason Stokke for a 1-yard touchdown.

Wisconsin 14, Michigan 0 (6:08 1st)

Milton throws second interception in two drives

Michigan takes over at the 47 after a great return by Giles Jackson.

Michigan takes a false start penalty before first down. Blake Corum is dropped for a loss of 3, bringing up second-and-18 from the Michigan 39. The Wolverines are going in the wrong direction. 

Joe Milton rushes for 2 yards on second down, then throws an interception directly at Wisconsin linebacker Leo Chenal. That was a truly awful interception.

Wisconsin 7, Michigan 0 (7:46 1st)

Wisconsin takes 7-0 lead after forcing early Michigan turnover

Michigan takes over at the 20. On Michigan's first play from scrimmage, Joe Milton's throw is intercepted by Scott Nelson.

Michigan 0, Wisconsin 0 (11:01 1st)

Wisconsin has it first-and-10 at the Michigan 33. 

Graham Mertz's first-down pass falls incomplete. Chimere Dike nearly gets into the end zone on the next play, but will have to settle for a 30-yard gain that gives Wisconsin the ball at the 3.

Mason Stokke is stuffed for a gain of only 1 on first down. Nakia Watson breaks the tie with a 2-yard rushing touchdown.

Wisconsin 7, Michigan 0 (9:28 1st)

Michigan defense gets stop to open game

Wisconsin wins the toss and elects to receive. Jake Moody's kickoff is returned to the Badger 34.

Nakia Watson picks up 9 yards on first down. Wisconsin is flagged for an illegal shift on the next play. It'll be second-and-6. Graham Mertz throws complete to Jalen Berger for a 5-yard gain, then picks up the first down via the QB sneak.

A blitz gets home on the next play, but Josh Ross whiffs on the sack. Gemon Green is already flagged for defensive holding, but there's also a holding penalty on Wisconsin. It'll be first-and-10 at the Wisconsin 48.

Watson rushes for 4 yards on first down. Vincent Gray makes a nice play to break up a second-down throw. Mertz misses on a screen pass to the running back on third down.

The punt goes for a touchback.

Michigan 0, Wisconsin 0 (11:08 1st)

Pregame

Michigan is reeling.

The Wolverines appeared to be riding high after what appeared to be an impressive season-opening victory at Minnesota, but the wheels have come off in the past few weeks, including a loss to in-state rival and heavy underdog Michigan State.

Quarterback Joe Milton and Michigan lost last season's game to Wisconsin, 35-14.

Last weekend's loss to Indiana was Michigan's first since 1987, and dropped the Wolverines from the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time as an eligible team since the end of the 2017 season.

It's not going to get any easier.

Michigan plays host to No. 13 Wisconsin under the lights Saturday at Michigan Stadium. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. Wisconsin will be playing its first game since a season-opening victory over Illinois on Oct. 23 because of a COVID-19 outbreak in its program.

In Wisconsin's victory over Illinois, freshman quarterback Graham Mertz was nearly perfect, going 20-for-21 for 248 yards and five touchdowns. That could be trouble for a Michigan secondary that's been torched the past two weeks. The Wolverines are 13th in the Big Ten in pass defense, allowing an average of 287.3 yards per game.

Wisconsin's won four of the last six against Michigan, though it hasn't won in Ann Arbor since 2010.

Follow along here for live updates.

Wisconsin at Michigan

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor

TV/Radio: ABC/950

Records: No. 13 Wisconsin 1-0, Michigan 1-2

Line: Wisconsin by 4½