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November 26, 2011

Notes: Toon's No. 87 a surprise




MADISON - When Nick Toon came running through the Camp Randall tunnel for the final time wearing No. 87 as a tribute to his dad and Badger legend, Al Toon, the people in attendance weren't the only ones caught off guard.

"My dad didn't know," Toon said after the game. "I surprised him by going out there on the field. I think that was very cool for him and a very cool opportunity."

As the honorary captain for Saturday's Leaders division title game, Al Toon not only addressed the team, but he also walked out on the field for the customary coin toss.

The younger Toon, not voted a team captain during fall camp, was also surprised to find out he would be joining his dad during that ritual.

Senior quarterback Russell Wilson stepped aside from his captain duties to allow Toon that opportunity.

"I didn't know that was happening until I got out on the field," Toon said. "I was surprised. Russell thought it would be cool to let me walk out with my dad so he stepped down and let me do that. Obviously it was very cool.

"Thanks to Russell. Not many people get that opportunity and I'm very thankful for that."

Toon also had himself a day during his final appearance inside Camp Randall stadium. He caught five balls for 42 yards and scored his ninth touchdown of the season, moving him into a tie for second place with his dad and Lee Evans on UW's single-season touchdown list.

He now has nine for the year and 17 for his career, good for fifth-best in UW history and just two behind his father for a share of third place.

Injury update:

Though the scene was rather somber, particularly when Ethan Armstrong was wheeled off the field inside an ambulance, preliminary tests have come back negative for the walk-on linebacker.

"He's had some trouble with both his hips," UW head coach Bret Bielema said. "As soon as the season is done he's got three surgeries he's scheduled to take. He's got one on his shoulder and one on each of his hips. He's an unbelievable example of what a kid sacrifices to play here, especially as a walk-on.

"I've got a lot of respect for Ethan and who he is."

Originally medical personnel called for the traditional cart, but because the injury seemed to be worse than it turned out the ambulance was called out.

"They thought the hip might have come out," Bielema said. "They wanted to take him and get as quick of X-Ray's as possible. They didn't want to go to the cart to get to the ambulance.

"That's why they went out."

It seems as though all other players not already injured came out of Saturday's game healthy.

Ball hinting at leaving?

With such an incredible season serving as a backbone, many are under the assumption junior tailback Montee Ball will forego his senior year of eligibility in favor of an NFL career.

Naturally, considering Saturday was senior day, Ball was asked if it was also his last appearance inside Camp Randall as a player.

"I don't know," Ball said. "I don't know at all. I'm going to ask a few questions at the end of the season and see what happens. If it is it's a great win and a great way to leave. If not, I'm going to be happy to come back."

Ball also made it clear he hadn't thought about the possibility of Saturday being his final game in his home stadium leading into the game against Penn State.

"Honestly I was really focused on Penn State," Ball said. "I wasn't thinking about this maybe being my last home game. Like I said, if it is it's a great way to finish it out. If not I'll be really blessed to come back."

Team notes:

-Wisconsin has now won 16-straight games inside Camp Randall Stadium, good for the third longest streak in the country. Only LSU's streak of 17 is currently better.

-UW has now reached the 10-win mark in each of the past three seasons marking the first time in school history any team has accomplished that feat.

-The Badgers finished the year 7-0 at home for the second-consecutive season, marking the second time in school history UW has posted back-to-back undefeated home seasons. It last happened in 2006-07.

-Each of UW's seven home wins were also in dominating fashion. Wisconsin averaged 51.3 points per game at home and held opponents to just 10.7. UW also won it's 10th-straight home contest against a Big Ten opponent. During that stretch the Badgers have won by an average of 36.5 points per game.

-UW went 6-for-6 in the redzone against Penn State, with five touchdowns. Because it didn't score a touchdown all six times it's nation-leading red zone touchdown percentage dipped to 86.2 percent on the season.

-Entering Saturday's game the most points an opponent had scored on Penn State was Alabama's 27. Wisconsin scored 28 in the first half.

-UW's 45 points against Penn State was the most any team has scored on the Nittany Lions since Ohio State won 45-6 in 2000.

Individual notes:

-Ball has now scored at least one touchdown in 18-straight games and has at least two touchdowns every game this season. That breaks an NCAA record of 11-straight two touchdown games held by Barry Sanders.

-Ball also has 34 touchdowns on the season, second-most in NCAA history. He only trails Sanders' 39 touchdowns in 1988.

-Ball also broke the Big Ten single-season rushing touchdown mark previously held by Anthony Thompson (Indiana, 1988) and Ki-Jana Carter (Penn State, 1994).

-Quarterback Russell Wilson has thrown for at least one touchdown in 36-straight games, tying the NCAA record held by Graham Harrell of Texas Tech. Wilson extended his Badger record for touchdown passes in a season to 28. John Stocco's 21 touchdown passes in 2005 was the previous record.

-Sophomore wide receiver Jared Abbrederis caught his sixth touchdown pass of the season and ninth of his career.

-Junior strong safety Shelton Johnson caught his third interception of the season and second in as many games.

-Conor O'Neill forced his first career fumble and recovered his first career fumble on the same play. That set up Wisconsin's fourth touchdown of the first half.

Quotable:

Bret Bielema on who he'd vote for if he had a Big Ten offensive player of the year vote and had to pick between Wilson and Ball:

"I'd split it. I can't (pick). I really can't. I don't know if there have every been co-offensive MVP's off the same team. I don't know if that's ever been done, but I don't know how you can give it to one without the other."


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