MADISON, Wis. -- After falling behind by 14 points early, No. 20 Wisconsin surged back to wallop No. 16 Nebraska 59-24 behind junior running back Melvin Gordon, who delivered an unforgettable performance to bolster his Heisman candidacy in a national showcase game. Gordon broke LaDainian Tomlinson's single-game FBS record with 408 rush yards. He also broke the Big Ten and team single-game records held by Anthony Thompson and Ron Dayne, respectively.
Let's look at how it went down at Camp Randall Stadium.
How the game was won: Wisconsin overcame a sloppy start and used a 21-point second quarter to take control. Gordon reeled off runs of 62, 44 and 39 yards in the quarter to put the Husker defense on its heels. His play seemed to energize Wisconsin's defense, which turned up the heat on Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong and then began forcing turnovers. After halftime, it was all Gordon, who scored three of Wisconsin's four touchdowns in the third quarter to put away the Huskers.
Game ball goes to: Hmmm, really tough choice here. I guess we'll go with Melvin Gordon. He had 238 rush yards and a touchdown at halftime. And then he really got rolling, racking up 170 yards in the third quarter to break Tomlinson's record. He averaged 16.3 yards per rush with four touchdowns on 25 carries. Gordon did lose two fumbles, something no one will remember after this one.
What it means: Wisconsin is alone atop the West Division after entering the day in a three-way tie for first place with both Nebraska and Minnesota. The Badgers can clinch a spot in the Big Ten championship game with a win next week at Iowa, and a Minnesota loss at Nebraska. The loss almost surely knocks Nebraska out of the division race and turns up the heat on coach Bo Pelini, who hasn't been able to avoid meltdown-type performances in the Big Ten.
Playoff implication: Nebraska's loss means Ohio State is likely the Big Ten's only realistic playoff candidate. The Huskers were a long shot going in despite only one loss -- a five-point road setback against Michigan State -- but they're definitely out of it now. It could hurt Ohio State's case as the Buckeyes hoped to face an 11-1 Nebraska team ranked in the top 10 at the Big Ten championship game. Wisconsin will move up the rankings but won't be able to overcome a loss to Northwestern.
Best play: So many Gordon runs to choose from, but his 62-yard touchdown scamper in the second quarter is the pick. Gordon hurdled Nebraska safety Corey Cooper at the 37-yard line and scooted untouched the rest of the way.
Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon Hurdles, Runs 62 Yards For TD
Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon rushes 62 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter against Nebraska.
What's next: Wisconsin visits rival Iowa next week, looking to possibly lock up the West Division crown. Nebraska returns home to face Minnesota.