EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 8 Wisconsin bent but didn't break defensively, dominated time of possession and scored what it needed in a 21-7 victory over Northwestern on Saturday.
The Badgers (7-2, 4-2 in the Big Ten West) won their third straight game, while the Wildcats (4-5, 3-3 Big Ten West) suffered their second consecutive loss.
"We were fairly consistent running the football and I thought we really did a good job of stopping (Northwestern's) run," Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said.
Corey Clement rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown -- his fourth game with 100-plus yards -- while Jazz Peavy added a career-first rushing score as Wisconsin out-gained Northwestern 190-39 on the ground and piled up 333 yards total offense to 316.
The Badgers also had nearly 21-minute edge in possession time, dominated on third down conversions and had 20 first downs to 14 for the Wildcats.
"We played right into Wisconsin's hands," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "We knew how critical third down was going to be and for us to be 5 of 18 and for them to be almost at 50 percent obviously tells you the difference in the game.
"You've got to win on third down. It's critically important and we failed at that."
The Wildcats' only score was a 13-yard second quarter touchdown pass from quarterback Clayton Thorson to Austin Carr. Thorson completed 28 of 51 passes for 277 yards, while Carr grabbed 12 passes for 132 yards.
Carr, the Big Ten's leader with 70 receptions, 1,010 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, moved into fifth place all-time in program history in yardage.
Wisconsin kicker Andrew Endicott made two of his four field goal attempts and added an extra point.
Saturday's game got off to a sluggish start, as Wisconsin stalled deep in Northwestern territory on its second drive of the game and missed on a 35-yard field goal attempt by Endicott.
But Endicott made up for the miss with 11:11 left in the second quarter with a 40-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
Wisconsin extended the lead to 10-0 on Peavy's 46-yard touchdown run with 7:33 showing to wrap up a five-play, 68-yard drive.
Northwestern broke the shutout in the final minute of the half, moving 87 yards in eight plays in 62 seconds to score on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Thorson to Carr with 39 seconds left. Jack Mitchell's extra point trimmed Wisconsin's lead to 10-7.
Wisconsin moved to the Northwestern 10 midway through the third quarter but got no closer, settling instead for Endicott's 28-yard field goal and a 13-7 lead.
But Endicott's fourth try of the afternoon -- a 51-yarder with 1:13 left in the third quarter -- was unsuccessful.
Thorson and Carr combined on a 32-yard pass play to the Badgers' 30-yard line as the third quarter neared an end. But Conor Sheehy sacked Thorson early in the fourth and caused a fumble, which D'Cota Dixon of Wisconsin recovered and returned to the Wildcat 45.
"We still had a chance going into the fourth quarter against the No. 8 team in the country, and then (had) self-inflicted wounds," Fitzgerald said.
Nine plays later, Clement capped the drive with a two-yard touchdown run and Alec Ingold's two-point conversion run opened a 21-7 lead with 8:57 left in regulation that held up the rest of the way.
"This defense has meant a ton to this team," Chryst said. "They've been giving up a chance to win when we're not putting up a lot of points.
"They have an energy about them and the confidence that permeates through the whole team."
NOTES: With wins over No. 9 Nebraska and No. 15 LSU, Wisconsin is one of only three teams with two victories over teams in the Top 15. ... Wisconsin's two losses -- both in October -- came against ranked teams, then-No. 4 Michigan (14-7) and then-No. 2 Ohio State (30-23 in overtime). ... Last week's overtime victory over No. 9 Nebraska made the Badgers bowl-eligible for the 15th straight season, the longest streak of any Big Ten program and they are 7-2 at this point for the fourth straight year. ... Wisconsin is home next Saturday against Illinois. ... Northwestern had its three-game winning streak snapped with last Saturday's 24-20 loss at Ohio State. ... The Wildcats travel to Purdue next week. ... The Wildcats entered Saturday with four straight home wins over the Badgers dating to 1999. ... Wildcat WR Austin Carr had a six-game run of touchdown receptions end last week but it was still the nation's longest streak coming into Saturday.