Needing a win Saturday to keep the Wisconsin Badgers’ 2018 West Division Title alive, the Penn State Nittany Lions had other ideas and frustrated the Badgers in a 22-10 PSU win today.
With the loss, the Badgers are all but completely out of West Division contention. Wisconsin would need to win the next two games against Purdue and Minnesota and have Northwestern lose all three of their final games for the Badgers to take the title.
Running back Jonathan Taylor did all he could, rushing for a game high 185 yards and a touchdown. 71 of those yards came on the third play from scrimmage for UW’s offense as he raced up the middle for the touchdown.
It would be the only touchdown of the day for the Badgers, as Penn State’s defense got major pressure all day long and never allowed the pass game to get going.
Conversely, Penn State got 159 yards and a touchdown from running back Miles Sanders.
Wisconsin couldn’t get out of their own way. Kept shooting themselves in the foot. Fumbled snaps, penalties, dropped passes, interceptions. Been this way for most of the year.
Jack Coan, who was making his second career start, managed just 60 yards on 9 of 20 passing with the pair of interceptions.
He didn’t get much help from his offensive line, as the Badgers gave up five sacks on the day.
For the second straight week, the Badgers scored on their opening drive. This week it came on the 71-yard run by Taylor, who burst through low arm tackles on a 3rd and 2 for the score.
Penn State responded back with an 8-play, 75-yard drive that saw a 14-yard touchdown pass from McSorely to DeAndre Thompkins to tie the game up at 7-7 midway through the first quarter.
Coan, starting for the second time in three weeks, also had his second fumbled snap in as many starts on UW’s ensuing drive.
Penn State took over at the UW 31-yard line but were forced to settle for a field goal to give them a 10-7 lead.
Penn State would take a 16-7 lead on a 1-yard TD run by Miles Sanders but the extra point was missed.
Wisconsin’s offense began to stall out at that point, and it was compounded by an interception in its own territory on UW’s final possession of the half.
Penn State couldn’t turn it into points however, as Issaiah Loudermilk blocked the field goal attempt as time ran out.
Coming out of halftime, Wisconsin moves efficiently and got a Rafael Gaglianone field goal to cut it to 16-10.
Penn State kicker Jake Pinegar made two field goals in the second half from beyond 40 yards to ice the game away.
Wisconsin looked like they might score late, but a promising drive stalled out with three minutes left to play. However, a bad snap by Penn State was recovered by the Badgers deep in PSU’s territory.
It was a final chance to cut it to a one score game, but the pressure by the Penn State defense was too much. On 4th and goal from the 20, the Badgers needed to throw one into the end zone, but Coan was intercepted for the second time.
The last time the Badgers lost three conference games by more than seven points was 2001.
The Badgers will play Purdue next Saturday in West Lafayette. The kickoff hasn’t been announced yet. But this game could be an important game for both teams depending how the Northwestern/Iowa game turns out today.