Indiana 20, Wisconsin 14: 2-minute drill

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Wisconsin lost for a third time in its last four games, falling 20-14 to Indiana on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Play of the Game

Facing fourth-and-2 at Indiana’s 32-yard line with 4:10 left in the game, the Badgers decided to forego a 50-yard field goal attempt to tie the game. Instead, they went for it and appeared in position to convert with wide receiver Will Pauling leaking out into the right flat. But, after seeing a first-quarter pass on the exact same play get tipped and fall incomplete, quarterback Braedyn Locke attempted to float the ball to Pauling. It sailed over his head and Wisconsin turned the ball over on downs.

Indiana would drain three minutes off the clock and hammer home a 51-yard field goal to take a 20-14 lead and the Badgers never threatened again.

Game Balls


WR Bryson Green

Wisconsin’s offense has lacked explosive plays but Green delivered late in the second quarter. The transfer took a short crossing route, broke a tackle and took off for a 54-yard touchdown. It was the longest play through the air for the Badgers this year and Green’s first touchdown with Wisconsin. He finished the day with four catches for 96 yards.


LB Jordan Turner

The inside linebacker led the team with three tackles for loss and also had a sack. He finished with eight tackles and a quarterback hurry. He was part of a defensive effort that limited Indiana to 36 yards in the second half.

What Went Right

Late first half, early second offense

After another slow start by the offense, the Badgers found their footing late in the first half. Locke led a 5-play, 68-yard scoring drive that concluded with the touchdown to Green. Then, coming out of the half, Wisconsin was able to cut the lead to 17-14 with a 10-play, 75-yard drive that Locke finished off with an 18-yard touchdown to Pauling.

Second-half defense

Wisconsin’s defense found its footing after a less than ideal start. Indiana scored points on three of its first six drives and missed a field goal on another, but they had just 36 yards in the second half. Wisconsin forced three-and-outs on three of Indiana’s five drives and allowed just three points after the break.

What Went Wrong

The start

As has been the case for all but one game this year, the Badgers started slow, falling into a 10-0 hole and a 17-7 deficit at the half. The defense couldn’t get off the field, allowing Indiana to covert 50-percent of its third downs, while the offense had two three-and-outs, three punts and a failed fourth-down conversion in its first four drives.

The finish

The Badgers were 1-4 in games decided the fourth quarter last year. The focus all offseason was about finishing those games, but it hasn’t happened. With the loss, the Badgers are now 1-4 in games where they were within seven points entering the fourth quarter. In every loss, the offense had the ball and a chance to tie or take the lead and couldn’t get it done. Three of those chances came near midfield or in opposition territory. They simply aren’t making plays when they need to.

In Case You Missed It

— Luke Fickell turned down three field goals of 50 or more yards, including a 50-yarder with 4:07 left and trailing by three. His kicker, Nathanial Vakos, is 3-for-7 lifetime from 50+ and has plenty of leg to make the kick. Some wondered if there was injury with the sophomore and Fickell was asked about it afterwards.

“He says he’s fine,” Fickell said. “I don’t know if he did a little something before (the game). They ended up saying he was alright and up and ready to go. But that maybe plays a little bit into the mind of putting a guy in a situation where he can be successful.”

— The Badgers had a first down and the ball at Indiana’s 18-yard line in the fourth quarter. After a run and an incomplete pass, the play came in slower than normal, though Locke still was behind the center with eight seconds to get the play off. But he let the play clock run out, resulting in a delay of game penalty. On the next play, he was sacked for a loss of 10, which led Fickell to punt instead of attempting the game-tying FG from 51 yards. Fickell was asked after the game whether he should have called a timeout to avoid the delay.

“In hindsight, maybe,” Fickell said. “Really felt like we were going to snap it and for some reason we didn’t. There’s a lot of factors that go into that, getting the protections and stuff like that but the compounding factor is then you give up a 10-yard sack on the next play and then you second-guess yourself for sure.”

— Wisconsin played without several key players, including running back Braelon Allen (leg), wide receiver Chimere Dike (leg), safety Kamo’i Latu (unknown) and quarterback Tanner Mordecai (hand). Mordecai did dress for the first time since breaking his hand against Iowa on Oct. 14. Fickell said Allen, Dike and Mordecai were not close to playing. The team also lost linebacker Jake Chaney during the game with a leg injury.

— Jackson Acker earned his first career start in place of an injury Allen. He had 11 carries for 48 yards, while adding four catches for nine yards.

— Cade Yacamelli saw his first extensive action in support of Acker, running for 48 yards on 10 carries. He also had one catch for 11 yards. The redshirt freshman did have a critical error, fumbling midway through the fourth quarter. However, Wisconsin’s defense stiffened and forced a punt.

— Vinny Anthony replaced Dike at punt returner and flashed with a 22-yard return. He also carried once for 18 yards on an end around to pick up a first down.

Inside the Numbers

2 — That’s how many straight wins Indiana has over Wisconsin after losing 10 straight. The Badgers loss was their first to Indiana or Purdue on the road since 2002.

1 – That’s how many wins Indiana has in conference play. It snapped a six-game losing streak in Big Ten games.

1 — That’s how many touchdowns Will Pauling had. After not scoring in the first five games, he’s got at least one touchdown catch in each of the last three games.

9 — That is how many pass breakups Indiana had, many of them coming on tipped passes around the line of scrimmage.

3 — That’s how many losses Wisconsin has in Big Ten play. It’s the fourth straight year the Badgers have had at least three after having just one such season from 2013 to 2019.

What’s Next

Wisconsin (5-4, 3-3) will come home to face Northwestern on Saturday. Kick is slated for 2:30 p.m. on FS1.