No. 19 Wisconsin racks up 312 rushing yards, blasts Buffalo

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Field Level Media
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Sep 2, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA;  Wisconsin Badgers running back Braelon Allen (0) rushes with the football during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bulls at Camp Randall Stadium.
Sep 2, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Braelon Allen (0) rushes with the football during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bulls at Camp Randall Stadium.
Image: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Chez Mellusi rushed for 157 yards and two touchdowns and Braelon Allen ran for 141 yards and two scores as No. 19 Wisconsin rolled past Buffalo 38-17 on Saturday in Madison, Wis., in the season opener for both teams.

The Badgers outscored the Bulls 24-7 after halftime, with Mellusi providing a much-needed spark. Ahead 14-10 and starting a drive at its own 11, Wisconsin found breathing room at last, as Mellusi weaved through the Bulls' defense for an 89-yard touchdown on the first play of the drive.

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Wisconsin scored on its next two possessions, including an eight-play, 97-yard touchdown drive capped by Allen's 6-yard scoring run.

Tanner Mordecai was 24-for-31 passing for 189 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for the Badgers. Mellusi (13 carries) and Allen (17) paced a ground game that accounted for 312 of Wisconsin's 501 yards of total offense.

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Wisconsin took a 14-10 lead into halftime behind an efficient effort from Mordecai, who passed for 125 yards, one touchdown and one interception before intermission.

Mellusi rushed for 62 yards and a touchdown on nine first-half carries. His 1-yard scoring run with 7:16 left in the first quarter put the Badgers ahead 7-0. Wisconsin covered 73 yards in 11 plays and took 3:52 of clock during the drive following a Buffalo punt.

The Bulls answered on the next possession with a quick-strike touchdown drive. Buffalo needed just 2:09 to go 65 yards in five plays. Cole Snyder's 7-yard scoring pass to Cole Harrity capped the drive, but the key sequence came two plays earlier, when Snyder connected with Darrell Harding Jr. for a 51-yard reception down the right sideline.

Wisconsin regained the lead on Mordecai's 29-yard touchdown pass to Chimere Dike with one minute remaining before halftime. Buffalo drew within 14-10 on Alex McNulty's 53-yard field goal with seven seconds left in the second quarter. He had missed from 34 yards earlier in the half.

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Snyder was 26-for-41 for 194 yards and two touchdowns to Harrity, who had five receptions for 47 yards. Mike Washington (12 carries, 52 yards) and Ron Cook (12 carries, 51 yards) led the Buffalo rushing attack.

—Field Level Media