3 takeaways from Wisconsin's bowl-clinching win over Nebraska
Saturday’s game between Wisconsin and Nebraska produced a hard-fought battle with the two sides squaring off for a bowl bid in Week 12. In the end, that game was not able to be decided in regulation with the two sides needing overtime to determine a winner.
In the OT period, Braelon Allen pushed the pile enough for a short-yardage touchdown for the Badgers. During Nebraska’s possession, the Huskers wound up facing a long 4th-down try and were unable to convert.
As a result, Wisconsin held on to grab the 24-17 win and get into the postseason. Here are the key takeaways from Week 12:
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Tanner Mordecai rallies Badgers
It’s hard to start a game much worse than Wisconsin did in Week 12. Nebraska opened the game with a huge scoring drive and followed that up with another just a few short minutes later.
At the same time, Wisconsin was struggling to get the offense going with 12 total yards and a pair of punts from the first two offensive drives. Fortunately, Mordecai would rally the offense with 10 unanswered points in the second quarter.
The first scoring drive covered 66 yards with Mordecai going 6-for-7, including a 26-yard touchdown to Jackson Acker:
Wisconsin is on the scoreboard. ⚡
📺: NBC pic.twitter.com/CSGHzg41DO
— Big Ten Football (@B1Gfootball) November 19, 2023
Mordecai would go on to finish the game 18-for-28 with 160 passing yards and a touchdown. He also delivered 51 rushing yards and came up with some key conversions using his legs to keep the Badgers alive in the win.
What happened to Nebraska’s offense?
In the first two drives of the game, Nebraska had 14 points and 151 yards of offense. For the rest of the game, the Huskers had 213 yards of offense, and a significant chunk of that came on the game-tying field goal drive late in regulation.
Between those opening drives and the FG drive at the end, Nebraska had 4 drives that failed to gain at least 10 yards. Nebraska did get into Wisconsin territory on two different drives but a turnover on downs and missed field goal eliminated potential points for the Huskers.
Wisconsin’s defense does deserve some of the credit for the Huskers’ struggles, but it is also clear Nebraska blew a golden opportunity. With an early 14-point lead and the strength of the defense, all the Huskers really needed in regulation was one more scoring drive to have a shot at the win.
In the end, it’s another tough defeat to swallow as Nebraska will get one more shot to clinch a bowl bid in Week 13.
Huskers need more Chubba Purdy in Week 13
Nebraska has had a revolving door at QB this season, but it’s possible Chubba Purdy is the right man for the job moving forward. At least for much of the game against the Badgers, it was Purdy who made plays and kept the Huskers alive.
It was Purdy who delivered the pair of early touchdowns for Nebraska with a huge run and pinpoint pass to get the Huskers to a 14-0 lead. He also strung together some key players on the game-tying drive to end regulation.
Overall, Purdy finished the game 15-for-23 for 169 yards and a touchdown through the air while rushing for 105 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. Most importantly, he took care of the ball with Purdy’s lone turnover coming on 4th down on the final play of overtime.
The status of Heinrich Haarberg will still be something to monitor throughout the week moving forward, but it’s possible Purdy played well enough to get the start in the season finale.