Madison- Jonathan Taylor ran for two touchdowns to help the offense overcome a sluggish start and No. 10 Wisconsin's defense swarmed Northwestern before holding on for a 33-24 win.
Alex Hornibrook threw for 197 yards and a touchdown, settling down after two interceptions in the first half. Garrett Dooley had three of Wisconsin's eight sacks.
Northwestern's last drive was thwarted when quarterback Clayton Thorson couldn't find a receiver out of his own end zone and was sacked by D'Cota Dixon for a safety.
Thorson was having a good quarter until then, throwing two touchdown passes in less than 2 minutes. The second to Garrett Dickerson with 2:53 left got the Wildcats within a touchdown.
But Wisconsin (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) stood up the Wildcats (2-2, 0-1) again late to seal the win in each team's conference opener.
Safety Natrell Jamerson had a 36-yard interception return for a touchdown for a 31-10 lead with 9:54 left in the game, what initially looked like the final blow to Northwestern.
Taylor, a freshman, finished with 80 yards on 19 carries. Dixon had a team-high 12 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks.