MADISON, Wisconsin – It took every effort, but the Wisconsin Badgers came out victorious in their home final, 35-28, against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
The Huskers went deep into UW territory with a chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. They went all the way to the 11-yard line before an offensive detention penalty pushed them back to the 21-yard line. Quarterback Adrian Martinez, who has been dynamic throughout, threw four consecutive failures at the end of time.
The Badgers (8-3, 6-2) have now won seven straight games and are one win away from claiming the Big Ten West title. Next stop: Minnesota.
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UW 7, Nebraska 0: What a start. Stephan Bracey, who is playing his first game of the year, returns the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. This is UW’s first kickoff return for a scoreline since Aron Cruickshank’s Rose Bowl return in 2020.
UW 7, Nebraska 7: The Huskers responded resoundingly after Bracey returned the opening kickoff 92 yards for a score. Quarterback Adrian Martinez gave Samori Toure two big passes, one for 42 yards and another for 27, before running back Markese Stepp scored a one-yard touchdown to tie the game. This scoring campaign spanned five games and covered 75. It was the first touchdown the UW defense allowed in nine quarters.
UW 14, Nebraska 7: You can’t even be surprised anymore. Braelon Allen intimidates and makes his way for a 71-yard touchdown, the longest run of his career. It is also his 10th touchdown of the season. Allen has seven carries for 109 yards.
UW 14, Nebraska 14: Officials flagged UW defensive back Alexander Smith for unsportsmanlike conduct after Nebraska’s punt return. The Huskers started practice on the UW 33-yard line and scored in the eighth game of practice on a touchdown pass from Martinez to Samori Touré. Martinez is 8 of 12 passes for 158 yards, and Toure caught three of those passes for 73 yards.
The Badgers’ No.1 defense was unusually inconsistent in the first half. The Huskers have already gained more total yards (220) than six other teams had against the Badgers in a game.
The Badgers didn’t have much of a response for quarterback Adrian Martinez, who completed 8 of his 13 passes for 158 yards and one score. Wide receiver Samori Touré caught three of those passes for 73 yards and hit the touchdown in the second quarter. His other two receptions gained at least 27 yards each in the Huskers’ first practice.
The Huskers won nine first downs against five for UW and controlled the possession time by more than three minutes.
The Badgers’ defense will have to find ways to improve in the second half. This group would admit that their performance in the first half was not up to par. The match remains tied at 14.
UW 21, Nebraska 14: Collin Wilder intercepted Martinez and returned the ball 40 yards from the Huskers 33-yard line. Four games later, Graham Mertz landed a 17-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kendric Pryor, who now has two touchdowns in the last three games. Mertz has nine touchdowns this season, and seven of them have come in the past four weeks.
UW 21, Nebraska 21: The Huskers have had a response every time Wisconsin has taken a lead. Martinez rocked his interception by completing 5 of his 6 assists. All of those accomplishments won the first downs on Martinez’s 11-play, 75-yard run topped with a 1-yard rushing score.
UW 28, Nebraska 21: This game has become an athletics competition. Who can score points faster? The Badgers are coming off for the second time this quarter, thanks to Allen’s second touchdown of the game. The Badgers came down the field in part thanks to Mertz’s 28-yard completion at Pryor and Allen’s 22-yard run two games after that.
UW 28, Nebraska 28: Huskers running back Marvin Scott scored a three-yard touchdown to tie the game at 28. It came two plays after Martinez found Austin Allen for 38 yards on the 4th down and 2 of the game. UW’s 45-yard line. The Badgers must respond now.
UW 35, Nebraska 28: Allen. 53 meters from the house. He has a chance to do this every time he touches the ball. The Badgers defense must make another play.
Allen has up to 22 carries for 228 yards and three touchdowns. His numbers are improving week by week.