Wisconsin 36, San Diego State 10
MADISON, Wis. (AP) _ Ron Dayne’s four touchdown runs and shoddy special teams play by San Diego State helped revitalized Wisconsin rout the Aztecs 36-10 Saturday.
Mike Samuel completed 12 of 13 passes for 176 yards and Dayne gained 145 yards on 26 carries as the Badgers won their third straight game after getting thumped by Syracuse in the Kickoff Classic.
Dayne was hampered by a pinched nerve in the opener and sat out the next week against Boise State, but in the last two weeks, he’s rushed for 399 yards and seven touchdowns.
In the first half, the Aztecs (1-2) hurt themselves with two bungled punts, a missed field goal and an illegal block that wiped out a nice return by Eric Lewis and forced them to start at their 4 instead of their 27.
It all added up to a 22-0 halftime lead for the Badgers.
The Aztecs made two critical mistakes in the first quarter, both of which led to 1-yard TD runs by Dayne, who added an 8-yard score in the third quarter and a 31-yard touchdown scamper in the fourth.
On San Diego State’s first possession, Kevin McKechnie was intercepted by Donnel Thompson, and Samuel, who hit eight different receivers on the day, drove Wisconsin 63 yards with Dayne taking it in for a 10-0 lead.
On the Aztecs’ next possession, punter Don Copeland dropped a good snap and was tackled by Chris Ghidorzi at the Aztecs 36.
Dayne rumbled to 33 yards to the 3 and a face mask penalty on the play put the ball at the 1 before Dayne took it in for a 17-0 lead.
Matt Davenport, who kicked a 19-yard field goal in the first quarter, added a 45-yarder after Thompson, who had 10 unassisted tackles, stopped Justin Watson on fourth-and-1 and the San Diego State 48.
That made it 20-0.
But the bumbling Aztecs weren’t done with their misadventures.
Tim Rosga blocked Copeland’s punt out of the end zone late in the first half for a safety and a 22-0 advantage.
San Diego State drove deep into Badgers territory in the closing seconds of the first half but a 21-yard TD run by Watson was nullified by a holding penalty and McKechnie was unable to spike the ball from the 16 before time expired.
Earlier, Nate Tandberg was wide left on a 28-yard field goal for San Diego State, which hasn’t won a non-conference game on the road since 1981. He was good from 20 in the third quarter.
McKechnie hit Az-zahir Hakim from 2 yards out in the fourth for the Aztecs’ only TD. Hakim had 10 receptions for 107 yards.
Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez improved to 5-0 against the Western Athletic Conference and his teams have outscored those schools 241-57.