Turning the football over five times, four of which came in the first 30 minutes, the No. 10 Wisconsin Badgers were defeated by the No. 19 Northwestern Wildcats, 17-7, on Saturday at Ryan Field in Evanston to drop to 2-1.

After rewriting the Badgers’ record books in the season-opening victory over the Illinois Fighting Illini on October 23, redshirt freshman quarterback Graham Mertz had his worst showing at the collegiate level, throwing three interceptions and fumbling.

Head coach Paul Chryst, who is in his sixth year at the helm of the program, did not seem like he was sounding any alarm bells postgame, chalking this up to normal growing pains for a young player.

Northwestern, who has now won two of the last three over Wisconsin, now possesses the inside track to representing the West Division in the Big Ten Championship Game. While the Badgers are no longer in control of their own destiny when it comes to this goal, Chryst stressed the importance of his team continuing to play hard.

Overall, Mertz completed 23-of-41 pass attempts for 230 yards and threw a 49-yard score to freshman wide receiver Chimere Dike.

Fellow freshman Jalen Berger finished as Wisconsin’s leading rusher, tallying 93 yards on 15 carries, while redshirt junior tight end Jake Ferguson led the pass-catchers, recording seven receptions for 58 yards.

The Badgers will return to Madison to square off with the Minnesota Golden Gophers (2-3) on November 28 at 2 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Network; the Wildcats (5-0) will travel to East Lansing to battle the Michigan State Spartans (1-3).