Wisconsin Football: Badgers’ 5 Most Devastating Losses In The Last 5 Years

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Nov 21, 2015; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Jazz Peavy (11) tries to catch a pass in the end zone late in the fourth quarter as Northwestern Wildcats cornerback Nick VanHoose (23) looks on at Camp Randall Stadium. Northwestern won 13-7. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Opponent: Northwestern Wildcats

Date: November 21, 2015

Final Score: 13-7

Let’s start with the most recent disappointment. Last Saturday, the Badgers lost to a tough Northwestern team for Senior Day at Camp Randall Stadium, and the finish has players, coaches, fans and media still talking.

Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

The Badgers did not have as much riding on this game as others in this list. Wisconsin came in ranked No. 25 with an 8-2 record, and Iowa had already won the Big Ten West. The Badgers were playing for a better bowl game, but the conclusion is still difficult to accept for Badger fans.

The first game-changing play came in the third quarter when Alex Erickson returned a punt for a touchdown that would have given Wisconsin a 13-10 lead with the extra point pending. After the touchdown, it was ruled that Erickson was waving teammates away from the ball, which resulted in an invalid signal. The rule is that Erickson was not allowed to return it, so the Badgers started their drive from where he first controlled the ball.

Wisconsin turned the ball over five times, but the defense kept the Badgers in the game. Going into the final drive, Wisconsin had a chance, and one of Joel Stave‘s strengths in 2015 has been operating the two-minute drill. In a perfect world, Stave would have led the Badgers to a miraculous come-from-behind victory, but this is in an article called the five most devastating losses, so he did not.

Following an important three-and-out, Wisconsin had the ball from its own 26-yard line with 1:47 remaining in the game. Stave marched the Badgers down the field with completions of 18, six, 15 and 12 yards to the Wildcats’ 23. On the next play, Stave found Troy Fumagalli for a 23-yard touchdown. After review, it was determined that Fumagalli’s knee was down at the 1-yard line, where the Badgers had a first-and-goal situation.

On the next play, Stave threw a 1-yard touchdown to Jazz Peavy. In a call that is still being debated, the referees overturned the call and ruled it an incomplete pass. Peavy caught the ball, took four steps, and his knee hit the ground before briefly bobbling the ball out of bounds, but the call was still overturned. The Big Ten announced earlier this week that the referees made the correct call, but many are still skeptical. Stave was sacked and injured on the next play, and Dare Ogunbowale had the heads up play to spike the ball during the chaotic situation. Bart Houston came in on fourth-and-goal from the 11-yard line and underthrew a diving Tanner McEvoy in the end zone to seal the Badgers’ loss.

"Bill Carollo just joined @BTNRickPizzo on @BTNLive to clarify a couple rulings in @BadgerFootball‘s Week 12 defeat. https://t.co/MWF3FNLjAp — BTN Live (@BTNLive) November 23, 2015"

Next: Devastating Losses: Ohio State