The Cardinal jumped out to a 14-0 lead after their first two drives of the game on the strength of two huge plays. The first, a 34-yard pass from senior wide receiver Drew Terrell to Jamal-Rashad Patterson, gave the Cardinal the ball at the Wisconsin 16. Running back Kelsey Young ran the remaining 16 yards to score on the very next play to put the Cardinal up 7-0. The second big strike was a 43-yard bomb from Kevin Hogan to tight end Zach Ertz set up a three-yard touchdown run by Stepfan Taylor.
Wisconsin hit pay dirt for their first time on their second drive of the second quarter, when running back Montee Ball capped a 49-yard drive with an 11-yard run for a touchdown.
A 47-yard field goal by Jordan Williamson helped Stanford extend their lead to 17-7, but a 38-yard run by Wisconsin quarterback Curt Phillips late in the second quarter set up a four-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Fredrick to pull the Badgers to within three points at the half.
Taylor leads all Stanford rushers with nine carries for 44 yards and a touchdown, while Ball has led Wisconsin's rushing attack with 17 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown.