EVANSTON, Ill., Oct. 21 -- Northwestern spent the first half of the season attracting attention. Now with a bowl berth all but tucked away in their pockets, the Wildcats want respect. Darnell Autry scored two touchdowns Saturday, helping No. 11 Northwestern turn seven Wisconson turnovers into 26 points on the way to a 35-0 Big Ten rout over the Badgers. Northwestern (6-1, 4-0 Big Ten) has won five straight games for the first time since opening the 1962 season with six wins. In addition, the Wildcats are guaranteed their first winning campaign since they went 7-4 in 1971. 'We felt like this was a game we really needed to go earn some respect,' Northwestern coach Gary Barnett said. 'We earned national attention, but we needed to earn some respect.' The Wildcats also became eligible for just the second postseason appearance in school history. Their only previous trip came in 1948, when Northwestern was invited to the Rose Bowl. Wisconsin (2-3-1, 1-2) lost its second straight game and suffered its second lopsided loss of the year. The Badgers were routed 43-7 by Colorado in their season opener. 'We did everything wrong we possibly could have, and they did everything right,' Wisconsin nose tackle Jason Maniecki said. The Badgers entered the game with just six turnovers in five games, then gave it away seven times to the Wildcats. Two of Widconsin's turnovers came on fumbles by running back Carl McCullough. On the first possession of the second half, McCullough caught a pass and fumbled in Badger territory.
Autry then caught a short pass from Steve Schnur and raced 32 yards for a touchdown to give the Wildcats a 19-0 lead. McCullough also fumbled at the Wildcat 5 in the second quarter to end the Badgers' best scoring threat. Saturday's homecoming game drew 49,256, Northwestern's first sellout since 1984. 'It was great!' said Autry, who finished with 81 yards on 26 carries. 'As I was running off the field, a fan popped me in the nose, but really, it was great.' Schnur scored on a 1-yard sneak on fourth down midway through the first quarter to give Northwestern a 7-0 lead. The score followed a fumbled punt return by Aaron Stecker at the Wisconsin 25. Northwestern defensive lineman Mike Warren returned an interception 53 yards to the Badgers 5 early in the fourth quarter and Autry followed with a 2-yard TD run. Sam Valenzisi kicked field goals of 32 and 26 yards to help give the Wildcats a 13-0 halftime lead. One of the field goals followed an interception by Chris Martin. Brian Gowens kicked a 40-yard field goal and Levelle Brown scored on a 38-yard run in the fourth quarter.