Russell Wilson threw two touchdown passes and ran for another in his Wisconsin debut and Montee Ball scored four times to lead the 11th-ranked Badgers over UNLV 51-17 on Thursday night.
All the attention was on Wilson, the North Carolina State transfer who is using his last year of eligibility at Wisconsin in hope of getting the Badgers back to the Rose Bowl or better.
Wilson shined, taking off on a 46-yard TD run that had him slipping into the end zone untouched just before halftime, then thanking every one of his offensive teammates on the bench after the play.
Even with Wilson, the Badgers are built to run. Ball and James White overwhelmed the undersized Rebels from the start in the hottest game in the 94-year history of Camp Randall Stadium.
Wisconsin's running game gave Wilson plenty of opportunities to pick UNLV apart, and the charismatic signal caller calmly went to the bench and sat under a giant fan flanked by a TV camera following his every move after each score. He finished 10 of 13 for 255 yards and had two rushes for 62 yards.
Ball caught Wilson's first TD pass as a Badger from 4 yards out.
In some ways it was a typical Wisconsin opener. The Badgers scored on their first drive of the season for the sixth straight year.
Mississippi State 59, Memphis 14 • Mississippi State's first touchdown on Thursday night came on a beautifully thrown, 44-yard pass from Chris Relf to Chad Bumphis. Relf had all the time he needed to make the throw. There wasn't a Memphis defender anywhere near Bumphis.
And it was pretty much that easy the entire night.
Vick Ballard rushed for 166 yards and three touchdowns and No. 20 Mississippi State easily handled Memphis 59-14 in a record-setting performance at the Liberty Bowl.
Mississippi State dominated from the start, taking a 31-7 lead after gaining 405 total yards in the first half. Things slowed down a little after that, but the Bulldogs still finished with a school-record 645 total yards.
"A lot of big plays, which is great," Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. "I love big plays. I love all those explosive plays. I want us to be a little cleaner. What we've got to do is keep all the positives out of this game, and clean up on the negatives as we continue to move forward."
• No. 11 Wisconsin 51, UNLV 17
• No. 20 Mississippi State 59, Memphis 14
• No. 14 TCU at Baylor, 6 p.m.
• No. 17 Michigan State vs. Youngstown State, 5:30 p.m.
• No. 1 Oklahoma vs. Tulsa, 6 p.m.
• No. 2 Alabama vs. Kent State, 10:21 a.m.
• No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 4 LSU at Arlington, Texas, 6 p.m.
• No. 5 Boise State at No. 19 Georgia, 6 p.m.
• No. 6 Florida State vs. Louisiana-Monroe, 1:30 p.m.
• No. 7 Stanford vs. San Jose State, 3 p.m.
• No. 9 Oklahoma State vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, 5 p.m.
• No. 10 Nebraska vs. Chattanooga, 1:30 p.m.
• No. 12 South Carolina vs. East Carolina, 6 p.m.
• No. 13 Virginia Tech vs. Appalachian State, 10:30 a.m.
• No. 15 Arkansas vs. Missouri State, 5 p.m.
• No. 16 Notre Dame vs. South Florida, 1:30 p.m.
• No. 18 Ohio State vs. Akron, 10 a.m.
• No. 21 Missouri vs. Miami (Ohio), 10 a.m.
• No. 22 Florida vs. FAU, 5 p.m.
• No. 23 Auburn vs. Utah State, 10 a.m.
• No. 25 Southern Cal vs. Minnesota, 1:30 p.m.
• No. 24 West Virginia vs. Marshall, 1:30 p.m.
• No. 8 Texas A&M vs. SMU, 5:30 p.m.