MADISON — No. 15 Wisconsin got a huge effort from Braelon Allen and held off a pesky Nebraska team to claim a seventh-straight win with a 35-28 victory over the Huskers on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium.
Offense: Braelon Allen
The Wisconsin running back just keeps raising the bar for what is expected of him. Allen followed a 173-yard effort against Northwestern last week by going for 228 yards and three scores against Nebraska. More than half of his total came on two runs – a 71-yard touchdown on third-and-1 in the second quarter and what proved to be the winning score on a 53-yard run late in the fourth quarter.
It was Allen’s seventh straight game of more than 100 yards, and he joined Ron Dayne, James White, and Jonathan Taylor as the only true freshmen to run for 1,000 yards in a season. Allen has done it with just two starts and 1,013 of his 1,062 yards have come in the last seven games.
Defense: Collin Wilder
On a day in which the defense was not at its best, Wilder made two significant plays to stop Nebraska drives. With the game tied at 14 on the first possession of the second half, the safety beat a Huskers receiver to the ball for an interception. He returned it 40 yards and four plays later the Badgers took a 21-14 lead. In the fourth quarter, Adrian Martinez tried to throw deep and found Wilder again for his second interception. Wisconsin was unable to convert that into points, but it stemmed the offensive momentum for Nebraska.
Wilder, one of several seniors that decided to return for a sixth season, has provided a huge boost of leadership on and off the field this year. But it was his timely interceptions on Saturday that helped Wisconsin get the win.
Special Teams: Stephan Bracey
Prior to Saturday, Stephan Bracey had not been in a Wisconsin uniform for 365 days. Not since he suffered a torn quad muscle in a loss to Northwestern last November. He underwent surgery in March and there was hope he would be able to return earlier this season. But that didn’t happen, and he was forced to wait. Not until last Sunday was the sophomore cleared to play. It was not until Thursday that he was informed he would be the No. 1 kick returner against Nebraska. He did not wait long to make his presence felt, taking the opening kickoff back 91 yards for a touchdown.
— Former Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon served as the honorary captain. His appearance came seven years and five days since he ran for a then-NCAA record 408 yards against the Huskers in a blowout win.
— Wisconsin honored 24 seniors prior to the game, their final one at Camp Randall Stadium. It included multi-year starters in tight end Jake Ferguson, cornerbacks Caesar Williams and Faion Hicks, linebackers Jack Sanborn and Noah Burks, wide receivers Danny Davis and Kendric Pryor, and offensive linemen Tyler Beach and Logan Bruss.
— Linebacker Leo Chenal missed parts of two different series in the second half due to what he said was a rib injury. He told reporters afterwards it is nothing that will impact his status for next week at Minnesota.
— Nebraska coach Scott Frost was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after Adrian Martinez’s desperation throw to Zavier Betts on fourth-and-20 was broken up by Faion Hicks. The replay showed Hicks got to Betts a little ahead of the ball, but no penalty was called, leading to Frost’s outburst.
Inside the Numbers
8 – That is how many catches Jake Ferguson had. It was a season-high for him and it turned into a career-high 92 yards. Ferguson has caught a pass in all 45 games he has played in and only two tight ends at Wisconsin have more than his 1,558 career yards receiving.
18 – That is how many turnovers Wisconsin has forced in its last five games after picking off a pair of passes. The Badgers now have a positive turnover margin (+1) after being as low as (-11) five games ago.
7 – That is how many times a Wisconsin running back has run for at least 200 yards against Nebraska in the 10 games the teams have played since the Huskers entered the Big Ten in 2011. Jonathan Taylor did it three times, Melvin Gordon did it twice, Montee Ball did it once and now Allen.
452 – That is how many yards Nebraska had. It is the first time anyone has topped 400 yards against Wisconsin’s defense this season. The 28 points matched what the defense had given up in the last six games combined.
Wisconsin (8-3, 6-2) will travel to Minnesota (7-4, 5-3) to play for Paul Bunyan’s Axe and a berth in the Big Ten title game.