Huskers lose late lead to Wisconsin

Huskers lose late lead to Wisconsin
Courtesy/NU Media Relations
November 19th, 2022 |

A late-game score pushed Wisconsin to a 15-14 victory over Nebraska at Memorial Stadium, after the Badgers’ Graham Mertz punched in a one-yard rushing touchdown with 35 seconds left.
It was the third score of the half for Wisconsin who scored all 15 points in the latter after being shutout in the first half. The Huskers had one final drive to go the length of the field but were held to just one first down in their final possession as time expired.
Nebraska’s Trey Palmer grabbed a pair of touchdowns in the second and third quarter in the loss, his second multi-touchdown effort of the season.
The first score came after Malcolm Hartzog picked off Mertz for his team-leading third interception of the season. Nebraska then drove 37 yards on eight plays into the end zone for a 7-0 lead to get the 86,068 fans in attendance warmed up on a chilly, 28-degree day.
Palmer was then left wide open on a 20-yard post route with 34 seconds left in the third quarter for his team-leading seventh receiving score on the season. He is now tied for the sixth-most receiving touchdowns in a single season in Nebraska history.
Nebraska’s offense totaled 171 yards, with 106 yards through the air and 65 yards on the ground. Casey Thompson completed 12-of-19 passes for 106 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Palmer paced the receiving core with four catches for 47 yards and two scores, while Travis Vokolek added two grabs for 20 yards.
The Big Red held the Badgers to just 83 passing yards, as Mertz finished the day going 8-of-18 for 83 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Ernest Hausmann recorded a career-high 12 tackles and held the Badgers to a little over 200 yards on the ground, led by Chez Mellusi’s 98 yards who took over for Braelon Allen.
Neither squad got anything going in the opening quarter, as they combined for just 89 yards of total offense. Wisconsin pieced together a 10-play drive to get into field-goal range, before Ochaun Mathis forced an intentional-grounding penalty to drive the Badgers outside the 40.
The two teams traded punts until Hartzog’s third interception of the season set Nebraska up at the Wisconsin 37-yard line. With 10:13 left in the half, it marked the first time that the Huskers reached Badger territory on the afternoon.
Nebraska turned the takeaway into points, as Thompson went 3-for-4 with 29 passing yards on the quick scoring drive. A pair of grabs from Palmer, capped off by an 11-yard touchdown reception, gave the Huskers a 7-0 lead with 6:40 remaining.
Wisconsin got the ball back and immediately ventured on a 13-play drive that stalled just outside the red zone. Nate Van Zelst left his 39-yard field goal short with 14 seconds left, and the Big Red took a seven-point advantage into the locker room.
It was the second-straight time at home that Nebraska shutout its opponent in the first half, doing so against Minnesota two weeks ago.
After a pair of three-and-outs, Wisconsin embarked on its third of four 10+ play drives, anchored by 59 rushing yards that set up a 25-yard field goal from Van Zelst to cut the lead to 7-3.
With 4:50 left in the third, the Huskers offense exploded on a nine play, 79-yard drive capped off with Palmer’s second touchdown of the afternoon for a 14-3 lead. Nebraska converted on a pair of third downs to capture a double-digit lead with 34 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
However, Wisconsin responded with a swift 75-yard scoring drive after Skyler Bell reeled in a 10-yard pass from Mertz. Although the Badgers failed the two-point conversion, Wisconsin cut NU’s lead to 14-9 with 10:07 left in the game.
Following a Nebraska three-and-out with 3:11 remaining, the Badgers drew up a 27-yard pass to Isaac Guerendo, followed by a Mertz sneak for the touchdown and lead. Nebraska got the ball back with just over 30 seconds left but fell short as time expired.
Nebraska now looks ahead to its final game of the 2022 season as they meet Iowa at Kinnick Stadium for the team’s annual “Black Friday” matchup. Kickoff time is set for 3 p.m.


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