Saturday, September 29, 2012
Instant analysis: Nebraska 30, Wisconsin 27
By Mitch Sherman
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska mounted a furious comeback, rallying from 10 down at halftime and 17 in the third quarter to beat Wisconsin 30-27 and avenge an ugly defeat last year.
Here are some quick thoughts:
It was over when: Nebraska stuffed Montee Ball and forced a fumble on fourth-and-1 from the Badgers’ 49-yard line with one minute to play. Wisconsin, with Danny O’Brien back in charge at quarterback in place of Joel Stave, mounted a final drive after blowing a 17-point lead, but it fell short after officials overturned a first-down spot on an O’Brien-to-Jordan Fredrick completion before Ball’s fumble.
Gameball goes to: Taylor Martinez. The junior QB had every reason to melt under the pressure, but responded by leading Nebraska on five scoring drives over six possessions from the second quarter into the fourth. Martinez contributed big runs and throws -- none more important than a 10-yard TD strike to Kyler Reed that brought the Huskers within three points.
Stat of the game: Wisconsin scored three touchdowns on the ground, runs of 2, 1 and 2 yards by Ball. Ball has scored seven touchdowns in two games against the Huskers over two years. More unusual, Nebraska had not allowed a rushing touchdown in four games before Saturday. When it mattered most, though, Ball was bottled up.
What it means: First, that Nebraska remains above water at the start of a treacherous stretch in which it plays at Ohio State, Northwestern and Michigan State and at home against Michigan over the next five weeks. For the Badgers, a third straight trip to the Rose Bowl looks like more of a long shot now than ever.