Tag Archives: NCAA Football

Recap: Penn State Defeats Wisconsin 38-31 to Win Big 10 Championship with Comeback Victory


Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

On October 15th, the Wisconsin Badgers’ record sat at 4-2 following back to back losses to Michigan and Ohio State including a 1-2 record to begin Big Ten Conference play. With that, the Badgers and their fans’ playoff hopes were as good we gone. Fast forward to early December, Wisconsin now sits at 10-2 on the strength of 6 straight victories. They now have a chance to make the coveted final four teams. Quite a comeback, but not a surprise as the Badgers have made resiliency the norm in Madison lately. Especially this season, as Bucky and company have been ravaged by injuries and have had to overcome a plethora of adversity including a split quarterback situation, with a senior and a freshman both playing significant snaps.

The same could be said for the Nittany Lions of Penn State who also sat at 10-2 coming into Saturday night’s action where they would knock off the Wisconsin Badgers 38-31.

Austin Ramesh had a one yard touchdown run to open up the scoring for Wisconsin.

Following a Penn State punt after an opening drive 3 and out, Wisconsin running back Corey Clement detonated for a 67 yard run on the 2nd play from scrimmage, sending the Badgers fan sections of Lucas Oil Stadium into hysteria.

Just like that, it was 14-nothing Bucky.

It looked like smooth sailing for Wisconsin as they rushed out to a 14-nothing lead. However, Penn State hasn’t won 10 games by simply giving in.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Trace McSorley lead a strong drive for the Nittany Lions, going 75 yards on just 5 plays. McSorley lofted a perfectly thrown deep ball to tightend Mike Gesicki who simply out-jumped the Badgers corner for the ball. The 33 yard pass play made it 14-7 Wisconsin.

An early turning point in the game came after Penn State forced a Wisconsin punt on their next posession. Driving for the potential tie, the Nittany Lions would make a costly mistake. Senior Brian Gaia’s snap sailed over the head of McSorley causing a scramble for the loose ball, ultimately ending with a Badgers defensive touchdown by Ryan Connelly on the fumble recovery.

Facing a 21-7 deficit, Penn State would attempt to go for it on 4th and 2 from their own 42. The desperate move was completely baffling so early in the game. The Badgers would turn Penn State over on downs after forcing an errant throw.

Wisconsin v. Penn State

Wisconsin tailback Dare Ogunbowale ran for a 7 yard score, stretching the Badgers’ lead out 28-7.

Penn State appeared to be in real trouble heading into halftime, save for a hyper efficient and equally clutch 90 yard drive. The Nittany Lions capped the drive with a 40 yard touchdown from McSorley to Saeed Blacknall with under a minute to go.

The 2016 Big Ten Championship game was a tale of two halves.

Completely overwhelmed in the first half, Penn State looked like a totally different team in the 2nd half. One missed field goal, one punt by the Badgers and two Nittany Lions touchdowns later, Penn State would pull even with Wisconsin, 28-28.

Wisconsin would finally score on a short field goal with 16 seconds remaining in the 3rd, making it 31-28 heading into the fourth.

It wouldn’t matter as fate had this one sealed. The Nittany Lions would continue the largest comeback in Big Ten Championship game history.

McShorley would connect with running back Saquon Barkley on a perfect loft throw in the back corner of the endzone for an 18 yard score.

Wisconsin v. Penn State

A Penn State field goal made it 38-31.

Penn State would hold off a last ditch effort by the Badgers to tie the game in the closing minutes. The Nittany Lions would stuff the Badgers on a fourth and one; a play, that after a chain measurement, sealed the big comeback win for Penn State.

Trace McSorley absolutely shredded the Badgers secondary, airing the football out seemingly at will. McSorley completed 22 of 31 passes for a Big Ten Championship record 384 yards and 4 touchdowns.

As good as the Badgers defense had been this season, the secondary played their worst game of the season, looking invisible on some of Penn State’s long pass plays.

Saeed Blacknall caught 6 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns. Daesean Hamilton hauled in 8 catches for 118 yards. The duo were the difference makers for the Nittany Lions.

Corey Clement ran for 164 yards on 21 carries for Wisconsin but was mostly a non factor after the first quarter. The senior ran for one score.

Senior quarterback Bart Houston’s conservative play, which worked for much of the first half, didn’t have enough juice to then generate a comeback for Wisconsin. Houston finished the game 16 for 21 for 174 yards with no scores.

Wisconsin v. Penn State

Penn State will now have a great case to make the playoffs as one of the final four teams.

Wisconsin had a fine season and will play in a big bowl game for their efforts but it will be a season of what ifs for the University of Wisconsin and their diehard fans.

MORE PHOTOS (by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration)

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Recap: #6 Wisconsin Badgers Keep Playoff Hopes Alive and Take Home Paul Bunyan’s Axe with Rivalry Win over Minnesota, 31-17


Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

Today was a big day for the Wisconsin Badgers, and it involved a lot of familiarity while also charting a lot of new ground. First, it was Senior Day, the last day that seniors Corey Clement, Vince Biegel and company will ever play for their home crowd at Camp Randall Stadium. Emotions were running high throughout the entire day, and the senior class had their sights on a memorable afternoon with their family and friends watching.

Next, today’s game was also important because it marked Wisconsin’s heated rivalry with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Although Wisconsin has dominated this matchup in recent history, Minnesota was going to do everything in its power to ensure that Wisconsin didn’t reclaim Paul Bunyan’s axe for a 13th straight year.

And if a rivalry matchup and Senior Day wasn’t enough, the game also marked the Badger’s celebration of their Big 10 West victory. Although Wisconsin clinched the title (and therefore birth in the Big 10 Championship game) yesterday, celebrating their upcoming match against Penn State (who paved their way with Ohio State and Penn State wins earlier today) just wouldn’t have been the same after a crushing loss.

Then last but not least, the day was a special one because of the playoff implications that surrounded the game. Of course the Badgers have had a “one game at a time” mentality, but the reality is, with a win today and a Big 10 Championship win next week, Wisconsin could very well make the College Football Playoffs for the first time. It’s unclear if the Badgers would still need some help, but if the squad didn’t do their part against the Golden Gophers, then their playoff hopes would be more than over.

So with so much on the line, you could expect the Badgers to hit the ground running and bully Minnesota around, right? Well, it wasn’t so easy. At least not right away.

Not only did Minnesota draw blood first with an early field goal, but after Wisconsin responded with an Alec Ingold touchdown in the second quarter, Minnesota had two unanswered touchdown scores from QB Mitch Leidner (one rushing and one passing). But after Leidner’s touchdown run with 53 seconds left to end Minnesota’s impressive first half, Minnesota would not score another point all game.

Wisconsin v. Minnesota

Wisconsin first chipped away at their 17-7 deficit with an Andrew Endicott field goal. While they turned the game into a one-score Minnesota lead, field goals were not going to get the job done, especially with how Wisconsin was moving the ball up to that point. 

Then it was time for the game changing moment. Just when Minnesota was starting to move the ball again, the Badger’s Mitch Leidner intercepted Leidner’s pass in Wisconsin’s own endzone, saving 7 points and perhaps saving a second half dagger that very well may have put the game away. Unfortunately for Wisconsin, this was only a 7-point swing as the Badgers punted the ball away after 4 plays and 19 yards.

But there is something about the 4th Quarter at Camp Randall Stadium. As “Jump Around” was blasting throughout the stadium, Wisconsin had new life. With 13 minutes left in the game, Wisconsin’s Sojourn Shelton delivered with a big interception and return for 40 yards to the Minnesota 19. With great field position, Wisconsin capitalized with a Corey Clement touchdown run, after Wisconsin QB Bart Houston delivered a clutch pass to Robert Wheelwright.

Minutes later, the Badgers again found the endzone, again with a Corey Clement touchdown run. The real MVP of this drive though was WR Jazz Peavy, who had a huge 71-yard run to the Minnesota 5-yard-line.

From there, the game was all but over, and Wisconsin continued to show us why they have arguably the best defense in the country. Wisconsin would see 4 total interceptions in the second half, two of which led to easy touchdowns for the Badgers. While Minnesota’s offense owned the first half of play, Wisconsin’s defense stepped up big time in the second half. Although the Badgers continue to win despite their offense, as opposed to because of their offense, it was enough for another week.

They say defense wins championships and Wisconsin will test that theory next weekend, as the Badgers will face the Big 10 East Champions in Penn State for the Conference Championship in Indianapolis.

Check out our photos from the Badger’s victory over Minnesota here.

Photos: #5 Wisconsin Badgers Defeat Minnesota Golders Gophers, 31-17


Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

All of Madison, Wisconsin was on pins and needles after the #5 ranked Badgers trailed the Golden Gophers of Minnesota at halftime. However four 2nd half interceptions helped Wisconsin escape defeat, leading to a Wisconsin Badgers victory, 31-17. The Badgers not only reclaimed Paul Bunyan’s axe in the rivalry matchup, but they kept their College Football Playoff hopes alive. Wisconsin will now face Penn State in the Big 10 Championship, in what will surely be a game to watch.

Check out our photos from today’s game below.

Continue reading Photos: #5 Wisconsin Badgers Defeat Minnesota Golders Gophers, 31-17

Photos: #7 Wisconsin Badgers Dominate Purdue Boilermakers for Drew Brees’ Homecoming, 49-20


Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

Moments ago, the seventh ranked Wisconsin Badgers spoiled Drew Brees’ homecoming visit for the Purdue Boilermaker’s Senior Day, with a dominating 49-20 victory. While Purdue struck blood first, after Wisconsin’s ensuing touchdown drive and TJ Watt’s monster pick 6, Wisconsin never looked back. Wisconsin continues to dominate conference opponents and is now one win away from a Big 10 Championship birth.

Check out our photos from today’s game below.

Continue reading Photos: #7 Wisconsin Badgers Dominate Purdue Boilermakers for Drew Brees’ Homecoming, 49-20

Recap: #7 Wisconsin Badgers Demolish Illinois Fighting Illini in Homecoming Victory, 48-3


Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

While Illinois was coming off an exciting victory over Michigan State, it was all Wisconsin in this one, as the Badgers demolished the Fighting Illini, 48-3. From offense to defense, Wisconsin was operating on all cylinders for their Homecoming crowd. 

Matching a career high with three touchdowns, Corey Clement again ran for over 100 yards (123), and was just one of many Wisconsin rushers who contributed to the teams combined 363 yards rushing. Although the receivers played a secondary role in the offense today, Jazz Peavy scored on a first quarter touchdown and continued to show why he is one of the better receivers in the conference.

And despite putting up 31 points in the first half, with three touchdowns coming in the first quarter alone, it was the defense that truly set the tempo early on. Four interceptions from three different players, Wisconsin’s defense consistently gave the offense exceptional field position.

It was truly a team victory, and while the Badgers absolutely dominated and did everything right, their weaknesses were still under watch as both quarterbacks, Alex Hornibrook and Bart Houston, took snaps today.

While Hornibrook and Houston each threw for one touchdown, and doing what was asked of them, the inconsistency at the quarterback position, that maintain this far into the season, may be what costs Wisconsin during a potential conference championship, bowl game, or even a shot a the national title.

Wisconsin v. Illinois

And don’t rule Wisconsin out of a playoff appearance just yet. While many fans lost hope that a two loss team could even make the playoffs, with Wisconsin’s resume and if they continue to dominate like they did against Illinois, they could certainly have a chance if they win out.

Wisconsin has the best chance of any Big 10 team to make it to the conference championship next month, and although Michigan and Ohio State both beat the Badgers and are currently ranked higher, a Big 10 Championship may lead to a playoff birth, even with two losses.

And when Wisconsin very likely may face Penn State in the conference championship (which may help or hurt them), don’t underestimate Wisconsin’s chances of winning their next three.

If, which is still a big “if”, Wisconsin does make it to the playoffs, they will have to figure out this quarterback situation. Neither Hornibrook or Houston will turn into an elite quarterback by the end of the season, but one of them will need to step up, even with Wisconsin’s elite defense. To what extent and who will be the one to do it? Only time will tell.


The Badgers will look to keep their playoff hopes and chances at winning the Big 10 alive, next week at Purdue, for a 11:00 AM Saturday game in West Lafayette.

Photos: #7 Wisconsin Badgers Defeat Illinois Fighting Illini 48-3 in Homecoming Victory


Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

Moments ago, the seventh ranked Wisconsin Badgers gave their homecoming crowd in Madison, WI a big “W”, as Wisconsin defeated the Illinois Fighting Illini. Although Illinois was coming of an excellent win against the talented Michigan State, the energy flowing through Camp Randall this afternoon was just too much for the Illini to handle, and RB Kendrick Foster just wasn’t able to find the same success against against Wisconsin elite defense.

Check out our photos from today’s game below.

Continue reading Photos: #7 Wisconsin Badgers Defeat Illinois Fighting Illini 48-3 in Homecoming Victory

Photos: Wisconsin Badgers v. Georgia State Panthers


Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

Moments ago, the #9 ranked Wisconsin Badgers avoided a big time upset against the unranked Panthers of Georgia State. While Wisconsin moved the ball well throughout the first half, the Badgers could not find the endzone until the second half and had to come from behind mid-way through the fourth quarter. Check out our game recap here and our photos from today’s game below.

Continue reading Photos: Wisconsin Badgers v. Georgia State Panthers

Recap: #9 Wisconsin Survives Georgia State at Home, 23-17


Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

Normally, playing a football game without the services of your best player would be a tough scenario to overcome. However, the Wisconsin Badgers had nearly an entire season last year of gaming for this very thing. Star tailback Corey Clement was held out of Saturday morning’s matchup with the Georgia State Panthers. Having Clement at or near 100% is critical for the Badgers heading into conference play next week.

The decision was probably very easy for head coach Paul Chryst, in that Georgia State is dead last in the FBS in run defense, having surrendered nearly 400 yards per game to opposing rushers in their first two games.

The Georgia State Panthers (0-3) could not pull off the massive upset of the #9 Wisconsin Badgers (3-0) on their home turf, falling by a score of 23-17. It took a little longer than it maybe should have for the Badgers to seal the deal against the visiting Panthers, as the Badgers struggled to convert third downs early, as well as having to overcome a bad turnover near their own goal line and a missed field goal by the previously perfect Rafael Gaglianone.

The Badgers easily played their worst half of football here in 2016 in the first half.

After turning their first two drives of the game into just two field goals by Gagialnone, their next several possessions resulted in a fumble, a punt, and a missed 30 yard field goal attempt as time ran out in the first half. It wasn’t so much a result of good defense by Georgia State, but an inability to execute by the Badgers’ offense, lead by struggling senior quarterback Bart Houston.

Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

Wisconsin would take just a 6-0 lead into intermission. Georgia State took this small moral victory into halftime, being only down one score and after being held to just two yards of total offense in the first quarter.

After a punt each by Georgia State and Wisconsin to open up the third quater, it would be the Panthers who would score first, turning a 10 play, 49 yard drive into a 45 yard field goal by their senior kicker Rogier Ten Lohuis, halving the Badgers’ lead 6-3. Lohuis, who had another 45 yard attempt blocked in the first half, was playing in only his third game of American football after making the team.

Following the Georgia State field goal, head coach Paul Chryst would bench Bart Houston in favor of freshman quaterback Alex Hornibrook. The move payed immediate dividends, as Wisconsin would finally hit paydirt with about three minutes left in the third. Hornibrook completed passes of 29 and 19 yards to set up Bucky. Dare Ogunbowale would punch it in from two yards out, making it 13-3 Wisconsin.

Georgia State quaterback Connor Manning really heated up in the second half, after not being called on much in the first half. His go-to wide receiver, senior Robert Davis became a handful for the Badgers defense. Manning connected with Davis on a 13 yard touchdown pass, pulling the Panthers within three points.

Hornibrook would be intercepted by Chandon Sullivan on the next Badgers’ possession. Three plays, and 69 yards later, Georgia State would score a go-ahead touchdown, making it 17-13, and leaving a sold out Camp Randall Stadium in stunned silence.

Alex Hornibrook would shake off the earlier INT and lead a crucial drive for the Badgers going 59 yards on eight plays. A 29 yard throw and catch from Hornibrook to freshman Kyle Penniston took the Badgers offense down to the Georgia State 17 yard line. Facing a third and goal from one yard out, following 2 failed run attempts, Wisconsin would go play-action as Hornibrook rolled out to his right, finding Penniston once again on a short out route in the back of the endzone as the Badgers regained the lead, 20-17.

The Badgers defense would hold, forcing a punt from Georgia State and then converting their own drive into a 41 yard field goal from Gaglianone.

Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

The Panthers, needing a touchdown and extra point to take the lead, would be forced to punt once again. Wisconsin, needing just one first down as Georgia State had just one timeout remaining, would get that first down, finally ending the Panthers’ spirited upset bid.

Wisconsin’s defense gave up an uncharacteristic 317 yards of total offense to Georgia State.

The Badgers would rack up 400 yards of offense themselves, making just enough plays down the stretch to avoid a disasterous loss before heading into conference play.

Freshman Alex Hornibrook rescued a sputtering offense, finishing 8/12 for 122 yards and the game-winning touchdown, all in less than two quarters.

Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

Dare Ogunbowale and freshman Bradrick Shaw lead Bucky with 65 and 62 yards rushing respectively.

The Badgers lost one of their top receiving targets in the first half as Troy Fumagalli would not return.

With the win, Wisconsin ran their home winning streak against non-conference opponents to 37 straight games, the longest current streak in the FBS.

It wasn’t the runaway blowout many had presumed coming into the game but Wisconsin held serve, moving to 3-0 before they embark on the toughest four game stretch in the nation. It all begins next Saturday as the Wisconsin Badgers head to Michigan State to face the #12 Spartans (1-0).

Photos: Wisconsin Badgers v. Akron Zips


Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

Moments ago, the #10 ranked Wisconsin Badgers demolished the Zips of Akron, with a blowout 54-10 victory for their true home opener. From the very first snap until the last seconds ran off the clock, it was Wisconsin’s game. Although against a much weaker opponent, the Badgers were set to prove their dramatic victory against LSU was no fluke. Check out our game recap here and our photos from today’s game below.

Continue reading Photos: Wisconsin Badgers v. Akron Zips

Recap: #10 Wisconsin Badgers Demolish Akron Zips, 54-10


Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
The Wisconsin Badgers’ bread and butter last season was their overwhelmingly stingy defense, which ranked among the nation’s best for much of 2015. A strong run game, coupled with steady, if unspectacular quarterback play lead the Badgers to another double digit win season. The Wisconsin Badgers of 2016 have picked up right where they left of last season.

Edging out LSU last week at historic Lambeau Field opened up a lot of eyes around the country to Wisconsin’s potential. It also showed the fickle nature of preseason rankings, as Wisconsin had been unranked heading into their matchup with LSU.

The Wisconsin Badgers (#10, 2­0) dominated the Akron Zips (1­1) in their first game at Camp Randall Stadium, winning 54­-10. The home team racked up an impressive 586 yards of total offense, while limiting the Zips to just 224 yards.

The Badgers put together a methodical opening drive to start the game, going 83 yards on 13 plays. Senior running back Corey Clement, who is finally healthy after missing much of last season due to a lingering sports hernia and groin issues, looked spry, running for 47 of those 83 Badger yards. Clement capped off the drive with a four yard rush right up the gut.

After a three-­and­-out by the Akron Zips on their first possession, the Badgers would go 85 yards on 10 plays down to the one-­yard line where they would face a fourth and one. Clement would have a clear lane into the endzone but the senior slipped on the Camp Randall turf while making his first cut. Instead of a 14­-0 Bucky lead, Wisconsin would turn the ball over on downs.

The defense would quickly pick up Clement and the Badgers.

Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Akron quarterback Thomas Woodson would be sacked by Wisconsin linebacker Alec James in their own endzone for a safety on the subsequent drive.

Wisconsin would quickly find the endzone following Akron’s safety punt with Junior wide receiver Jazz Peavy having a big hand. Peavy had catches of 10 and 11 yards, while also making a 23 yard run that put the Badgers on the 30­ yard line of Akron. Clement would finish things off, this time keeping his footing on his one­-yard run, diving over the defense.

From there, the rout was on. Wisconsin, who undoubtedly heard the grumblings that their #10 AP ranking was simply too high, excelled in all three phases of the game Saturday afternoon.

Senior quarterback Bart Houston would connect with Jazz Peavy for his two touchdowns late in the 2nd quarter. Throw and catch scores of 13 and 34 yards were sandwiched around an Akron punt return touchdown by Jo Jo Natson which was the only real noise the Zips made all afternoon in Madison.

Wisconsin would take a 30­-10 lead into halftime, lead by brilliant halves from both Clement and Houston. Houston was 12/19 for 206 yards passing in the first half, while Clement racked up 111 yards rushing with two scores on his 21 carries.

Wisconsin v. Akron
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Clement did not play in the second half as he was held out as a precaution after having his ankle fallen on by a tackling Akron defender late in the first half.

Budding NFL wide receiver prospect Robert Wheelwright III continued to flash his immense potential on the outside; at times, making quarterback Bart Houston look NFL ready himself. The senior wideout finished with 4 catches for 99 yards on the afternoon.

Jazz Peavy lead Bucky with seven catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns.

The Badgers played many of their backups in the second half as Wisconsin continued to pile on the points. Redshirt freshman backup quarterback Alex Hornibrook looked poised during limited action, finishing 5/5 with 61 yards passing, including a six­-yard touchdown to Alec Ingold.

Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Akron quarterback Thomas Woodson struggled mightily Saturday after his 407 yard, six touchdown performance just one week ago. The Junior finished with just 108 yards through the air.

The Badgers’ defense has been one of the best in the nation over the course of last season. With many starters having returned here in 2016, it will be the defense having a huge say in Bucky’s title hopes moving forward.

Wisconsin (#10, 2­0) will stay home at Camp Randall Stadium for next week’s matchup with Georgia State (0­2). The game will kick off at 11:00 am Central standard time, as Wisconsin looks to continue their tune up toward conference play which begins the following week in a tough test at Michigan State.