Nebraska pushed Wisconsin’s No.19 to the limit before falling, 35-28, on Saturday afternoon at Camp Randall Stadium
The Huskers (3-8) were down by seven after Braelon Allen’s 53-yard touchdown with 3:50 left, but Nebraska had one final practice. Adrien martinez made four straight passes before a pass interference call placed the ball on the Wisconsin 11-yard line. After a hold penalty pushed the ball back to 21, three consecutive incomplete passes set up a controversial fourth game. Martinez threw towards Zavier Betts, who appeared to be interfered with but no appeal was made, and the Badgers held on to keep their Big Ten West Division hopes alive.
As the game featured two of the Big Ten’s best defenses, it was the offenses that made the show, with the two teams combining on nearly 850 yards.
Martinez completed 23 of 35 passes for a season-high 351 yards, his highest passing total since throwing a career-high 384 yards at Wisconsin in 2018. In total, Nebraska smashed the The Badgers’ highest-ranked defense for 452 yards, more than double the UW’s 216.3 yards per game average.
It was part of a record breaking day for Martinez, who became Nebraska’s all-time leader in total distance, and Austin allen, who had seven catches for 143 yards. Allen’s 143 yards on Saturday were the highest ever for a Husker tight end, as he increased his season tally to 36 catches, breaking the school’s mark for catches by a tight end in a season that had lasted since 1978.
Perhaps that would have been enough without the heroism of Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen, who rushed for 228 yards and three touchdowns, including scoring 71 and 53 yards. In total, Wisconsin totaled 252 rushing yards against the Blackshirts.
Nebraska got off to a good start in the opening kickoff, as Stephen Bracey took the kick off short at the 9-yard line, broke a few tackles and ran 91 yards for a score to put the Badgers at 7-0 just 13 seconds after the competition.
The Huskers reacted quickly, going for 74 yards in five games to tie the score at seven. Martinez set the tone early, finding Samori Toure for 42 yards on the opening play before a 27-yard achievement at Touré two games later got the ball at the Wisconsin 8-yard line. Markese Stepp thought he had a touchdown on the next play, but the call was reversed and the ball was placed on the 1-yard line. Stepp wouldn’t
be disallowed and scored in the next game to tie the score at seven.
Toure finished with seven catches for 113 yards and one touchdown in his fifth game for 100 yards, a total that tied NU’s single-season record for 100 yards in one season.
Wisconsin would enter Husker territory on the next leg, reaching NU 33, but Graham Mertz’s fourth pass was interrupted by Cam Taylor-Britt. NU continued to march forward against the strong Wisconsin defense, handing the ball over to Badger 31 after a 17-yard pass from Martinez to Vokolek. The Huskers could not support the training and were forced to land.
Wisconsin would increase their lead to 14-7 by the end of the first quarter, as Allen broke free on a 3rd and 1 play and went 71 yards for a touchdown.
The Huskers had a golden opportunity in their next practice, walking 75 yards to get the ball deep into Wisconsin territory. NU had 1st and 10 on the Badger 14 and got eight yards from Brody belt, but couldn’t get off first. In fourth and second place at UW 6, Martinez tried to find Austin allen, but Scott Nelson broke the pass in the end zone to block Husker’s drive.
The Blackshirts forced a three-and-out on Wisconsin’s next possession and recovered the ball from the Wisconsin 33-yard line. The Huskers would take advantage, going 33 yards in eight games, as Martinez found Toure for a 4-yard touchdown pass to tie the score to 14.
Wisconsin forced a turnaround in the Huskers’ opening practice in the second half, as Martinez’s pass to Olivier Martin was picked up by Collin Wilder and returned 40 yards to the Nebraska 33-yard line. The Badgers capitalized, scoring four players later as Graham Mertz found Kendric Pryor for a 17-yard touchdown to give the Badgers a 21-14 lead.
Mertz completed 12 of 18 passes for 145 yards and one score.
Nebraska would respond right away, going 75 yards in 11 games to tie the score at 21 after a 1-yard touchdown run from Martinez. Martinez went 5 of 6 on the drive, all five assists getting the first downs, including a seven-yard pass to Allen on third and six. Three plays later, Husker’s tight end made a 22-yard pass to the UW’s 1-yard line before Martinez hit the dirt in the next play.
Wisconsin resumed the lead at 28-21 on Allen’s second touchdown of the day, this time from three yards, to cap an eight-game drive. UW’s passing offense delivered a pair of key plays, including a 28-yard pass to Pryor on the third and third before finding Jake Ferguson for another first against NU 30. The next postponement of Allen lasted 22 yards before scoring three plays later. .
After a turnover from Husker gave the ball to Wisconsin near the midfield, the Blackshirts came out on top to keep NU in the game. Wisconsin was second and five at the Huskers 36, but a costly penalty sent the Badgers back five yards. Mertz found Ferguson for nine yards on the third and 10, but Luc Reimer stuffed Jon Chenal for a loss of one meter on the fourth down.
Nebraska was on the move and faced a third and 13 at NU 44 after a penalty wiped out a 33-yard run from Marvin Scott. Martinez found Allen for 11 yards to reach 4th and 2nd at UW 45 before keeping the drive alive by finding Allen on a 38-yard catch and running to Badger’s 7-yard line. Scott would equalize two games later with a three-yard rush with 6:27 to go.
Wisconsin got to work, as Allen ran three straight carries for 15 yards before breaking free two plays later on a 53-yard rush to give Wisconsin the lead for good.
The Huskers will conclude the 2021 season with the Scheels Heroes Game against Iowa on Friday, November 26. Kick-off is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. and the match will be televised by B1G Network and Huskers Radio Network.