Saturday, September 15, 2012
Wisconsin outlasts Utah State, barely
By Chantel Jennings
It came down to a 37-yard field goal attempt with just 11 seconds remaining in Camp Randall for Josh Thompson, who was kicking for the win over Wisconsin. But the ball would go right, just enough to allow the Badgers to sneak out with a 16-14 victory.
And while the Badgers' defense looked stronger than last week, their offense still struggled, but the dramatic win was still satisfying for Wisconsin. But the process to get there was anything but pretty.
Wisconsin struggled mightily against Utah State. In the first half, the Badgers looked confused and allowed the Aggies to mount a 14-3 lead going into halftime. But the Badgers came out of the break with a renewed energy, holding Utah State scoreless in the second half and scoring 13 unanswered points in the third quarter.
It was sophomore wide receiver Kenzell Doe who gave Wisconsin its first glimmer of hope in the third quarter when he returned a punt for 82 yards and a touchdown. Senior running back Montee Ball would follow that up with a 17-yard touchdown run, his first of the season.
But it never seemed smart to count out Utah State, which has become used to playing in close games (10 of the Aggies' 13 games last season were decided by seven points or less) -- and the fact that Wisconsin seemed like it could break at any point made the Badgers an unsafe bet. And the fates weren't decided until the final kick.
Bret Bielema and Wisconsin managed to close out the game and tadvanced to 2-1 on the season. But the win over Utah State was far from convincing for the reigning Big Ten champions, who look anything but.