Wisconsin football did it again, narrowly defeating the visiting Nebraska Cornhuskers 35-28. Wisconsin has now won seven straight games after a disastrous 1-3 start to their season. Nobody in their right minds saw this kind of turnaround coming, and credit should be given to the coaches and players alike for righting the ship.
Wisconsin was out-gained by Nebraska 452-397, lost the time of possession battle 33:17 to 26:43 and ran 21 fewer plays. Yet somehow Wisconsin found a way to win.
This wasn’t your typical outing from the grit factory. On Saturday, the defense allowed 452 total yards – 351 of which were through the air. Wisconsin’s defense gave up an uncharacteristic 6.5 yards per play and looked human for the first time during their seven-game winning streak.
Despite the up and down outing, Wisconsin (8-3, 6-2 Big Ten) is just one win away from a Big Ten West title, heading into the final regular-season game against Minnesota.
So, without further ado, it’s time to hand out game balls from the win over Nebraska.
Offense: Braelon Allen
I’m running out of ways to say how impressed I am with the 17-year-old tailback, but he’s outdone himself once again. On Saturday, Allen carried the ball 22 times for a career-high 228 yards (10.4 YPC) and 3 touchdowns.
In doing so, Braelon Allen eclipsed 1,000 yards on the season, becoming the 19th player in Wisconsin football history to rush for 1k, and just the fourth Wisconsin true freshman to do so in the past 30 years. The only other three to do it: Jonathan Taylor, James White, and Ron Dayne.
Braelon Allen has been a joy to watch, and it’s obvious now that Wisconsin has found their next superstar running back.
Offense: Jake Ferguson
In his final game at Camp Randall Stadium, Barry Alvarez’s grandson had a night to remember.
Jake Ferguson caught 8 passes for a career-high 92 yards. Sometimes, Ferguson is a player I feel gets taken for granted at Wisconsin because he’s had an incredible/consistent career. It was great to see that kind of production on Senior Night.
Defense: Grit Factory CEO/Collin Wilder
On Senior Day, Collin Wilder recorded both of the team’s takeaways (2 interceptions).
At Wisconsin’s low point, they were -11 in turnover margin. Now, Wisconsin is currently +1 due to the 18 takeaways the defense has recorded in the last 5 games. It’s just been incredible to watch, and the Grit Factory has been Wisconsin’s backbone all season long.
Special teams: Stephan Bracey
After returning from an injury that’s kept him out all season, Stephan Bracey made an immediate impact – returning the opening kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown.
Wisconsin needs just one more win to represent the Big Ten West in the championship game for the 5th time in 7 years. Since 2014 (when the Big Ten East/West was founded) Wisconsin football owns a 37-8 (.822) record against Big Ten West opponents.
Their final game, however, is against Minnesota – in a battle for the Axe. Wisconsin has won 17 of the last 18 meetings between the two programs, and few wins are sweeter than those over the Gophers.