Braelon Allen ran for a career-best 173 yards and three touchdowns, while Graham Mertz passed for two scores, as No. 18 Wisconsin extended its winning streak to six games with a 35-7 victory over visiting Northwestern on Saturday at Madison, Wis.
Allen, a freshman who will not turn 18 until after the season is over, scored on runs of 2 and 3 yards in the first half, then broke several tackles on a 33-yarder late in the third quarter that put Wisconsin in front 35-0.
Wisconsin (7-3, 5-2 Big Ten) controls its own destiny in the Big Ten West after a 1-3 start that included two conference losses. The Badgers entered the day in a four-way tie atop the West Division with Iowa, Minnesota and Purdue.
The Badgers were without leading rusher Chez Mellusi after a season-ending leg injury last week against Rutgers. Allen, who had just 12 combined carries in his first three games, had a career-high 25 Saturday and topped the 100-yard mark for the sixth consecutive game.
Mertz completed 18-of-23 passes for 216 yards and one interception. Wisconsin entered first nationally in total defense at 213.8 yards per game, allowed 239 yards, but came up with four interceptions.
The Wildcats (3-7, 1-5) scored on a 49-yard fumble return by A.J. Hampton Jr. in the fourth quarter.
Wisconsin stopped Northwestern's first drive with an interception in the end zone, then scored on its next three possessions for a 21-0 halftime lead.
After picking off Andrew Marty in the end zone, the Badgers went 91 yards in nine plays, capped by Allen's 2-yard run to go up 7-0 with 14:53 left in the half. Allen carried seven times for 86 yards on the drive, including a 37-yarder on the first play.
On their next possession, the Badgers needed just seven plays to go 50 yards, increasing the lead to 14-0 on Mertz's 13-yard pass to Danny Davis III. Allen's 3-yard run made it 21-0 with 5:13 left in the half.
The Wildcats had a first down at the Wisconsin 6 in the third quarter, but Charlie Kuhbander was wide left on a 32-yard field goal attempt.
Dean Engram's third-quarter interception set up Mertz's 11-yard touchdown pass to Jake Ferguson that made it 28-0.