College football can so often write a redemption story like no other. Late in the game in Lincoln, with Wisconsin staring down a possible 0-2 start in Big Ten play, Wisconsin kicker Rafael Gaglianone saw a potential go-ahead field goal attempt bounce right off the right upright to keep the Badgers down by one. Just minutes later, Gaglianone got another chance, from a farther distance, and he cashed in. The game-winning field goal gave Wisconsin (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten) a thrilling 23-20 victory while Nebraska (2-4, 0-2 Big Ten) slumped to another late game loss.
Nebraska held a halftime lead of 14-7 on Wisconsin, but the Badgers took control in the second quarter with three straight scores. Gaglianone hit a 45-yard field goal late in the third quarter and a 42-yard field goal in the fourth to give Wisconsin a six-point lead, 20-14. The Badgers touchdown was scored by Alec Ingold from one yard out to give Wisconsin its second lead of the game (Wisconsin led 7-0 in the first quarter).
Down by one score with just under half the fourth quarter to play, Nebraska got to work with Tommy Armstrong leading the way. After two incomplete passes from Armstrong and a holding penalty to put Nebraska in a 3rd and 15, Armstrong created his own running room and just reached the first down marker before running out of play for a 16-yard gain.Two plays later saw Nebraska once again in a critical third down situation, this one much shorter with just one yard to go. The call was to keep the ball in the hands of sturdy fullback Andy Janovich. He picked up the first down but broke the tackle to keep running for what was nearly the game-winning score.
Wisconsin did get a chance to retake the lead, but a 39-yard field goal bounced off the right upright to preserve Nebraska’s lead. The Badgers also came up with a defensive stop on Nebraska’s ensuing possession to force Nebraska to punt back to the Wisconsin offense. This time Wisconsin would cash in. Gaglianone was given a chance to kick a 46-yard field goal for the win, and he nailed it.
Wisconsin 23, Nebraska 21.
With the win, Wisconsin remains in the Big Ten West race early on in the Big Ten schedule, but they continue to chase Iowa. The Hawkeyes defeated Wisconsin last week to take a head-to-head tiebreaker. Northwestern also went down in flames today, which was good news for Wisconsin. The Badgers should have a good chance to pick up another win next week at home against Purdue, and games against Illinois, Rutgers and Maryland will follow before hosting Northwestern in November.
Nebraska has now lost three games in dramatic fashion. First there was BYU’s Hail Mary. Then there was the comeback that fell flat in overtime at Miami. That was followed up by a clock management loss at Illinois. Now Nebraska has gone down to a late field goal. How will Nebraska lose next week (at Minnesota)? We’ll just have to tune in and find out.