Montee Ball is having a huge game against Purdue. As of the end of the third quarter the Badger running back had 227 rushing yards and 2 TDs. His second TD of the day tied him with former Badger Ron Dayne for the all-time Big Ten career touchdown record. With his third TD of the game, early in the fourth quarter, Ball passed Dayne to become the top dog in Big Ten history when it comes to punching the ball in.
I’m sure Dayne will have no trouble handing his crown over. It’s been somewhat of a frustrating season for the one-time Heisman candidate Ball (who may be back on the Heisman radar after this game). There was an on-campus assault a couple weeks short of camp that left him with a concussion. Then when the season started, the Badgers had all those offensive line problems, and Ball found holes hard to come by. Then Ball suffered a second concussion, casting his season in doubt.
But Ball was able to recover quickly from the concussion. As the offensive line got it together, Ball saw more creases. He ran well in the second half against Illinois, and some took this as a harbinger. And indeed it was. Ball came out against Purdue looking like the old Ball. Yes the offensive line is improving but it’s not only that. At his best, Ball has always been able to make tacklers miss with shifty moves, and can overpower defensive players at times. That old spark came back for Ball today.
Purdue defenders have often looked helpless trying to bring down the running back. Ball has had the whole game going today. Running to the edge. Picking through traffic. Throwing straight arms. Bewildering guys with spin moves and hip fakes. The Badgers’ running game is finally back from the doldrums. And Montee Ball is moving up through the all-time record books as we expected.
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