Wisconsin sneaks by Nebraska to become bowl eligible

The Badgers scored 12 fourth quarter points to win 15-14
Wisconsin's Darryl Peterson (17) leaps into the arms of C.J. Goetz (98) as they celebrate their...
Wisconsin's Darryl Peterson (17) leaps into the arms of C.J. Goetz (98) as they celebrate their 15-14 win against Nebraska in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Lincoln, Neb. (AP Photo/Rebecca S. Gratz)(Rebecca S. Gratz | AP)
Published: Nov. 19, 2022 at 5:28 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WSAW) - It wasn’t without a scare, but the Wisconsin Badgers are going bowling thanks to a 15-14 win at Nebraska Saturday.

It was a physical, low-scoring affair, but the Huskers struck first. In the second quarter, Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz was intercepted by Malcolm Hartzog. The Huskers would turn that into points as quarterback Casey Thompson found Trey Palmer for an 11-yard touchdown pass. At halftime, Nebraska led 7-0.

In the third quarter, Wisconsin would have a drive end inside the Nebraska ten, settling for a field goal to get on the board. The Huskers would respond with another scoring drive as Thompson found Palmer again on a touchdown strike to make it 14-3. The Badgers aided the Nebraska effort, committing two 15-yard penalties on the drive, including a targeting call on Nick Herbig that got him ejected.

With their backs against the wall in the fourth, the Badgers came alive. A lengthy, ten-play, 75-yard drive ended in Wisconsin’s first touchdown of the game. Mertz found Skyler Bell on a short third-down touchdown pitch-and-catch to make it 14-9. The Badgers’ two-point try was unsuccessful.

After a few stalled drives traded back and forth, the Badgers got one more chance with 3:11 to go in the game. The play that made the drive was a 27-yard Mertz dime to Issac Guerendo to put the Badgers inside the Huskers’ ten. Shortly thereafter, with under a minute to go, Mertz would sneak in from a little over one yard to give Wisconsin their first lead of the day. Once again, the two-point try was unsuccessful, keeping it 15-14.

Nebraska had one more chance with the ball, but an incomplete Thompson pass as time expired ensured the comeback win for Wisconsin 15-14.

Mertz finished 8-18 with 83 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Chez Mellusi, in his first game back since October 8th, led Wisconsin in rushing with 98 yards on 21 carries. Braelon Allen battled pain and injury all day to still churn out 92 yards. Keontez Lewis led the receiving corps with three catches for 31 yards.

The Badgers win their ninth straight game against Nebraska to hold on to the Freedom Trophy. Wisconsin picks up their all-important sixth win of the season to ensure their 21st straight bowl game appearance. They close the regular season next Saturday at home against Minnesota in the battle for Paul Bunyan’s axe.