Wisconsin stuns Nebraska yet again
Final: Wisconsin 23, Nebraska 21
Key play: Rafael Gaglianone makes 46-yard field goal with four seconds left
Wow. Just wow. Just when you think Nebraska can’t find another crushing way to lose, it sinks to a new low. I can’t decide if that’s even more demoralizing than the Hail-Mary loss against BYU. Gaglianone had already missed the game-winning field goal. It was supposed to be over. But the Huskers only took 12 seconds off the clock and allowed Wisconsin to rally back with another improbable last-minute drive. Credit Joel Stave for coming up with a game-winning drive after an otherwise forgettable day. But wow. Just wow, Nebraska.
Telling stat: Nebraska completes 11 passes
The Wisconsin defense made the Huskers earn every one of those, too. Alonzo Moore and Stanley Morgan both had highlight-reel catches. Other than that, however, Tommy Armstrong struggled to move the chains with his arm. You thought that maybe the Huskers had turned the corner with the two quick scores at the end of the first half. After all, Joe Schobert and the Badgers had only allowed one touchdown in its previous four games combined. Instead, that was the end of the Husker passing attack. If not for Andy Janovich busting up the gut for his first career touchdown — which probably should’ve been the game-winner — Nebraska would’ve been looking at a scoreless second half. Yikes.
-Alex Erickson is healthy and well
There was talk that Erickson would be inactive after this week after suffering a head injury in last week’s loss against Iowa. But he was active. Very active. He was Stave’s go-to guy and made huge catches down the stretch to pace the Badger offense. On a day where Stave threw the ball 50 times, it seemed like he was constantly searching for Erickson. He and Troy Fumagalli, who was filling in for the injured Austin Traylor, were big for the Badgers. Wisconsin didn’t want to have to throw that much, but with Taiwan Dale banged up, Stave and Erickson formed a consistent 1-2 punch.
–Penalties kill Nebraska again
The Huskers were the most penalized team in America coming into Saturday. They lived up to that again. Nine times they were penalized for 89 yards. When Tommy Armstrong broke open a 30-yard run in the second quarter — which would’ve been Nebraska’s longest rush of the season at the time — it was called back because of an illegal formation. Too many times, this team can’t get out of its own way. That’s partially on Mike Riley and partially on experienced players that aren’t staying focused in key situations. That, obviously, is Nebraska’s biggest problem.
What it means: Riley’s seat gets hotter, Wisconsin is back in it
Falling to 0-2 in the conference seemed like such a far-fetched thought for both of these squads in August. Both of them were desperate to avoid that nearly impossible hole to overcome. Wisconsin did, and as a result, it’s in the same position it was in at this time last year. Nebraska, on the other hand, is at a historic low in Riley’s first season. It’s the program’s worst record since 1959. Not good. There were plenty of Husker fans already calling for Riley’s job before Saturday. After losing yet another heart-breaking game, it’s safe to say those numbers will multiply in Lincoln.