Nebraska can’t hold off Wisconsin comeback
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Amid another losing season, Nebraska had a chance to get a win it has craved for years on Saturday.
But the Huskers failed to put any points on the board in the fourth quarter, and Wisconsin rallied to defeat NU 15-14.
It was the Badgers’ ninth straight victory over the Huskers.
The game started slow, with every drive in the first quarter ending on a punt.
Wisconsin did have one possession that showed promise, but Ochaun Mathis sacked Badger quarterback Graham Mertz on a third-and-8 play. That backed Wisconsin up to midfield, forcing yet another punt.
Things came to life early in the second quarter, when Husker freshman Malcolm Hartzog intercepted a pass from a Mertz and returned the ball to Wisconsin’s 38-yard line.
NU took advantage, scoring its first touchdown since the first quarter of the Minnesota game on an 11-yard pass from Casey Thompson to Trey Palmer.
As the half came to a close, 39-yard field goal attempt by Wisconsin fell short of the goal posts.
But the Badgers found a rhythm in the third quarter.
They ran the ball 10 times on a 14-play drive, culminating in a 25-yard field goal by Nate Van Zelst.
The Huskers answered with a long drive of their own and ended the third quarter up 14-3.
With some help from penalties against Wisconsin, Nebraska went 79 yards in nine plays and scored on another pass from Thompson to Palmer.
The Badgers got their first touchdown in the fourth quarter to make it a one-score game.
But they failed to make a two-point conversion that would have cut NU’s lead to a field goal.
The Huskers had a chance to put the game away with 4:50 left but couldn’t get a first down.
So the Badgers had time to score, and they did.
Mertz made a 1-yard TD run with 35 seconds remaining in the game to take a one-point lead.
The Huskers ran out of time as they tried to save the game.
The matchup came a time of uncertainty for both programs.
The Huskers and the Badgers both fired their coaches midseason, and now the teams are led by interim coaches who are in the running for the permanent job.
On Saturday, Chez Mellusi led Wisconsin with 98 rushing yards.
Thompson led Nebraska in passing and rushing yards. He threw for 106 yards and two TDs and ran for 33 yards.
Palmer had four receptions for 47 yards and two touchdowns.
With the win, the Badgers (6-5, 4-4 Big Ten) became bowl eligible.
Next week, the Huskers (3-8, 2-6) will play at Iowa on Black Friday.