If Wisconsin wanted to make a statement following its heartbreaking loss to Washington State, New Mexico State was the perfect type of medicine.

Badgers running back Braelon Allen carried the load en route to a 66-7 win over the Aggies. Allen led the charge with 3 first-half touchdowns, while the defense held New Mexico State to under 150 yards of offense.

Allen, a Heisman dark horse entering conference play, dazzled on the ground. He kicked off the first quarter with a 39-yard touchdown to make it 7-0. A quarter later, Allen capitalized following an interception by Maema Njongmeta for a 1-yard run to make 28-0. 

Allen capped off a 5-play, 63-yard drive with his 3rd touchdown of the game to make it 35-0. He finished the afternoon with 15 carries for 88 yards, averaging 5.7 yards per attempt.

Trusting the run game might be Wisconsin’s best bet of remaining a contender in the Big Ten West. Senior running back Chez Mellusi also was effective in short-yardage situations, scoring a 2-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Of Wisconsin’s 311 first-half yards, 164 came on the ground. As a team, the Badgers averaged over 5 yards per run.

Quarterback Graham Mertz looked for better results following an inconsistent start to the season. He moved the ball early, connecting with wide receiver Keontez Lewis for an 18-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Mertz also found Skyler Bell for a 49-yard score with just over 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Bell also scored a 19-yard touchdown with 6 minutes remaining in the third. Bell finished with 108 yards off 4 catches, averaging 27 yards per catch.

There’s still a level of concern with Mertz’s level of play, primarily with his decision-making. Driving before halftime, the junior threw into triple coverage when trying to find Bell, leading to an interception by NMSU’s Syrus Dumas at the 8-yard line.

Mertz finished the afternoon going 12-of-15 passing for 251 yards. His longest throw of the afternoon came on a 47-yard pass to tight end Clay Cundiff.

The Badgers’ defensive line overwhelmed New Mexico State’s offensive line. Several Wisconsin defenders were in the face of quarterbacks Diego Pavia and Gavin Frakes on a regular basis. The Aggies didn’t cross midfield until the final drive of the first half, but kicker Ethan Albertson missed a 29-yard field goal with 4 seconds on the clock.

New Mexico State’s passing offense didn’t do much. Wisconsin cornerback Ricardo Hallman might have made the play of the afternoon in the first quarter with his one-handed interception.

Wisconsin’s second-team offense saw action with just over 5 minutes remaining in the third quarter. Quarterback Myles Burkett went 3-of-3 passing for 63 yards before running back Isaac Guerendo punched in the score from 3 yards out.

Guerendo scored a second touchdown to push the Badgers over 60 points with a 30-yard touchdown early in the 4th quarter.

The Badgers will hit the road to face No. 3 Ohio State next Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET.