Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Badgers vexed, once again, by last-second touchdown pass

For the second week in a row, one of Brad Nortman’s punts was blocked leading to seven points for that respective week’s opponent. Nortman has 25 punts this season for 1019 yards for an average of 40.8 yards per punt. Nortman has only punted half as many times as UW opponents, who’ve punted 51 times this season.[/media-credit]

COLUMBUS, Ohio – For the second week in a row, torments continued for the Wisconsin football team: a blocked punt and a late comeback squandered by a last-second touchdown pass upheld upon further review.

Ohio State freshman quarterback Braxton Miller threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Devin Smith with 20 seconds remaining to defeat Wisconsin 33-29 Saturday night at Ohio Stadium.

For the second week in a row, the Badgers lost a road game on a touchdown pass of 40 yards or more with just seconds left.


“It was another heartbreaking loss for us,” head coach Bret Bielema said. “Our kids never quit. They’re going to be tested in an unbelievable fashion after the last two weeks. I can’t describe the feeling of having to face those guys after all they’ve put in.”

While last week’s loss to Michigan State nearly ended all hope for a national championship, Saturday’s defeat puts Wisconsin (6-2, 2-2) three games behind first-place Penn State in the Big Ten Leaders Division. The Badgers also share that spot with Illinois and Ohio State (5-3, 2-2).

Miller finished the game, completing seven of 12 passes for 89 yards and one touchdown and also ran for an additional 107 yards and two scores.

UW quarterback Russell Wilson completed 20 of 32 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns, while the Wisconsin backfield was held to only 89 yards rushing. It was the first time Wisconsin was held to less than 100 yards rushing since Nov. 21, 2009, against Northwestern, who capped the Badgers at 99 yards.

Miller, on the other hand, contributed to an Ohio State rushing attack that accumulated 268 yards. Running back Dan “Boom” Herron led all rushers with 160 yards on 33 attempts (4.8 yards per carry) in his second game back from a six-game suspension.

On the game-winning play, Miller avoided two potential sacks as he scrambled toward the right sidelines. Just before crossing the line of scrimmage, Miller heaved a deep pass to Smith, who had slipped past the UW defense and caught the ball in the middle of the endzone between defensive backs Marcus Cromartie and Aaron Henry.

An official’s review confirmed that Miller never crossed the line of scrimmage.

“I was to the field, so I really didn’t get a good look of who was on the backside,” Henry said, referring to Smith, who had crossed over into Henry’s half of the field on the play. “I was just kind of quartering up my zone. … Braxton Miller threw back across the field – across his body, scrambling – and it was just something he was trying to create, and that’s what he did.”

Miller’s last rushing touchdown, with 4:39 remaining in the game, gave the Buckeyes a 26-14 lead and seemed to put a dagger in the Badgers’ hopes of a comeback.

Instead, it only invigorated it.

Wilson responded with a four-play, 66-yard drive in just 51 seconds that was capped with a 17-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jared Abbrederis.

Wisconsin’s defense then stopped Ohio State in three plays and forced a punt, giving the Badgers the ball back with 2:36 left on their own 36-yard line.

Again, Wisconsin went the distance, marching the 68 yards in four plays and 1:18 with the drive culminating in a 49-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to a wide-open Abbrederis.

That was followed with a pass to running back Montee Ball for an extra two points, giving the Badgers a 29-26 advantage.

But that gave the Buckeyes 1:18 to score as well – and they did, in 58 seconds.

“We knew we had to get our offense the ball back, and they put it in the endzone – and we had the lead this time,” defensive tackle Patrick Butrym said, clearly frustrated for the second consecutive week. “We convert the two-point conversion for the field goal [lead] and what do you know, they scored a touchdown.”

Wisconsin got the ball back for the game’s final moments, but couldn’t summon a miracle finish of its own.

The two teams entered the locker room at halftime with Wisconsin up 7-3 and the two defenses dominating. Ohio State received the ball to begin the second half, and from its first snap, the momentum began to swing in favor of the Buckeyes.

Herron ran up the middle and down the field for a gain of 57 yards that put the Buckeyes on the Wisconsin 18-yard line. Four plays later, Miller juked past UW defensive lineman Brendan Kelly for a 1-yard touchdown, and the Buckeyes took a 10-7 lead.

But OSU struck again soon enough when it forced UW to punt after three plays. The punt never quite fully lifted off, however, as defensive back Corey Brown blocked Brad Nortman’s punt, which was then recovered at the 1-yard line.

“I thought we got it off in a good time, and I think the only way someone would have got to it is if they had come free,” punter Brad Nortman said. “It was surprising they got there (for the block).”

Three plays later, OSU increased its lead to 17-7 when running back Jordan Hall took it around the trenches and plunged in for the score.

Wisconsin held Ohio State to 104 yards of offense in the first half, but opened up in the second to allow 253 more. The Buckeyes also converted 11 of 20 third-down conversions, as well as another fourth-down try.

Although the Badgers eventually made a comeback, the Buckeyes simply made more plays, according to Henry.

“The thing about the defense is you can have 70 great plays, and if there’s 75 total plays and you let five of them get away from you, that can definitely cost your team the game,” Henry said. “For the most part, we played some good snaps on defense. But it was probably about four, five, six plays that got away from us. It was definitely unfortunate, because that didn’t reflect on how we played.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *