Final Score: Northwestern 15, Wisconsin 24

Brief Recap: Saturday’s game in Madison turned into a rather tense affair between the Badgers and Wildcats. Despite playing at home, No. 8 Wisconsin scored on the game’s opening drive before scuffling on offense for much of the afternoon. Pat Fitzgerald’s Northwestern team showed up ready to compete and headed into halftime trailing by a score of 7-3. The second half played out similarly to the first half, but it was a couple of key defensive scores by the Badgers that made the difference.

Key Moment: Clinging to a slim 7-3 lead late in the third quarter, Wisconsin turned to its defense. Eric Burrell came on a perfectly timed safety blitz and delivered a massive hit to Northwestern’s Hunter Johnson. Burrell’s hit jarred the ball loose with the ball bouncing all the way to the end zone. Matt Henningsen pounced on it for the Badgers score in a play that proved extremely crucial on the final scoreline.

RELATED: Wisconsin defense comes up with crucial TD off massive strip-sack

Key Stat: 0-for-2 on two-point conversion attempts for Northwestern. Pat Fitzgerald provided plenty of talking points with a couple of interesting decisions late in the game. The Wildcats were trailing by 21 points when they scored their first touchdown in the fourth quarter. They went for two and missed, leaving it at a 15-point deficit. They would score again minutes later with another two-point attempt. That attempt was also failed and left Northwestern facing a nine-point deficit with minimal time remaining. The Wildcats did not score again, but they had the ball late with a chance. Even if they had scored, the previous decisions meant Northwestern needed two possessions with a chance to win the game.

Key Player: We’re going with Eric Burrell for the way he swung momentum to the Badgers. In addition to his strip-sack, Burrell had three tackles and a pass break up. It was a key moment on a day that saw Jonathan Taylor and the offense limited to one touchdown.

What it Means for Wisconsin: For the Badgers, they avoided a loss in a letdown performance after last weekend’s big win over Michigan. Such performances happen from time-to-time and the big key is simply escaping with the victory. Wisconsin remains the favorite in the B1G West with a shot at playing its way into the College Football Playoff.

What it Means for Northwestern: For the Wildcats, getting to bowl eligibility is continuing to look like a tough task. After 2018’s remarkable run to the B1G Championship Game, Northwestern continues to be hampered by inconsistent quarterback play. Hunter Johnson and Aidan Smith combined to go 18-for-40 passing against the Badgers, and that line is not going to cut it in the B1G.