Wisconsin Football: Russell Wilson and 4 Other Reasons for Badgers' Hot Start

Sean LansingContributor IOctober 9, 2011

Wisconsin Football: Russell Wilson and 4 Other Reasons for Badgers' Hot Start

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    The No. 4 Wisconsin Badgers are off to an incredible start, and it's no secret that Russell Wilson is the main reason why.

    Behind the first-year quarterback's arm and leadership, Wisconsin has outscored opponents 242-51 on their way to a 5-0 record. 

    Here are five reasons for the Badgers' impressive start, beginning with the quarterback. 

Russell Wilson

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    Russell Wilson has been perfect, and that's not an exaggeration. 

    On the field, he's a front-runner for the Heisman Trophy: 1,400 yards passing, 13 TDs and a 75 percent completion rate. 

    Off the field, he's grown into the face of the program and the unquestioned leader of the Red and White. 

    Where would the Badgers be without him? 

Montee Ball's Coming out Party

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    Coming into the season, everybody knew the Badgers were stacked in the backfield with Montee Ball and James White.

    Both are elite backs, which makes it all the more impressive that Ball has established himself as the No. 1 option in Wisconsin's rushing attack. 

    Through five games, Ball has 511 yards to White's 329, and he's rushed for 10 more touchdowns (13 to 3). 

    For the Badgers to continue their success, they are going to need production from both.

    Still, it's nice to know they have a go-to guy if needed. 

The Emergence of Jared Abbrederis

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    Nick Toon has finally become the superstar the Badgers always knew he could be, and it's only because of the emergence of sophomore walk-on Jared Abbrederis. 

    Abbrederis’ production—20 catches, 328 yards, 2 TDs—has consistently freed up Toon and allowed him to make big plays. 

    The Badgers knew they had two great running backs when the season started; they didn't know they had a pair of elite receivers. 

Wisconsin's Other Two-Headed Monster: Borland and Taylor

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    Chris Borland is healthy again, and he’s teamed up with Mike Taylor to form one of the nation’s best linebacker duos.

    Borland and Taylor have anchored the Badgers’ battered defense all season and kept them humming along at full speed.

    What Wilson is to the offense, these two are to the defense. 

Defensive Depth

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    The Badgers haven't suffered any major injuries on offense (knock on wood), but they've been banged up on the other side of the ball all season.

    First they lost starting cornerback Devin Smith to a season-ending injury, and then safety Shelton Johnson and defensive lineman David Gilbert went down.

    Credit Marcus Cromartie, Brendan Kelly and others for picking up the slack and filling in on D.