LINCOLN, Neb. – Rafael Gaglianone may still be in a funk, but he can celebrate a game winner for the University of Wisconsin.
After missing a 39-yard kick off the right upright with 1:26 remaining, Gaglianone snuck a 46-yard field goal just inside the right upright with four seconds left to propel Wisconsin to a 23-21 come-from-behind victory over Nebraska Saturday.
Wisconsin (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten) was in prime position to win, driving 70 yards in 10 plays, to attempt the go-ahead field goal with 1:26 remaining. Gaglianone couldn’t deliver, putting his 39-yard kick off the right uprights. It was the second field goal he missed on the afternoon and the sixth this season.
But after the defense held the Nebraska in check, using all three of their timeouts to bleed over 12 seconds off the clock, the offense drove 42 yards in six plays to set up Gaglianone’s winning attempt.
It was the fourth defeat for Nebraska (2-4, 0-2) in the closing seconds this year, painful considering the Huskers were in good spirits after fullback Andy Janovich’s career-long 55-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter put the Huskers ahead 21-20.
Wisconsin lost starting tailback Taiwan Deal early in the first quarter because of an ankle injury, but junior Dare Ogunbowale stepped up to the plate late, finishing with 117 yards on 18 carries. UW also had a 100-yards receiver in senior Alex Erickson (113).
Getting inconsistent pass protection from his offensive line, on its fourth different combination in six games, and countless drops from his receivers, quarterback Joel Stave managed to throw for 322 yards, one touchdown and no turnovers (he was fortunate in that department) against the worst secondary in college football, giving up 353.8 yards per game.
Avoiding consecutive Big Ten losses for the first time since November 2012, Wisconsin returns home next week to take on Purdue (1-5, 0-2) at 11 a.m.
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13 plays, 77 yards, 5:22 TOP, 9:45 left
Troy Fumagalli 7-yard pass from Joel Stave (Rafael Gaglianone kick)
Key Play: With the wind in their face, Paul Chryst waved off going for a 47-yard field goal on fourth-and-2. UW rewarded that gamble when tight end Troy Fumagalli caught a 4-yard pass to the Nebraska 25. Jazz Peavy's diving 16-yard catch on third-and-15, giving UW a first down at the 14, was equally as big.
14 plays, 77 yards, 6:56 TOP, 2:40 left
Tommy Armstrong 7-yard run (Drew Brown kick)
Key Play: De'Mornay Pierson-El found plenty of separation in one-on-one coverage against Sojourn Shelton, getting Nebraska to Wisconsin's 25-yard line with a 19-yard completion on third-and-7.
5 plays, 62 yards, 1:29 TOP, :31 left
Stanley Morga 42-yard pass from Tommy Armstrong (Brown kick)
Key Play: In one-on-one coverage with Morgan, Sojourn Shelton never turned his head around to the play. Morgan caught the pass with Shelton in his face in the end zone, drawing a flag for pass interference as an insult to injury.
7 plays, 28 yards, 1:55 TOP, 1:06 left
FG Rafael Gaglianone 45
Key Play: Stave's receivers are approaching 10 drops in the game but Eric Steffes didn't let him down, as his 15-yard gain put the Badgers into field goal range.
11 plays, 84 yards, 4:32 TOP, 10:08 left
Alec Ingold 1-yard run (Gaglianone kick)
Key Play: Facing a third-and-11 near midfield, Wisconsin got a big call to go its way when cornerback Joshua Kalu was whistled for pass interference, giving UW a first down at the Nebraska 30.
5 plays, 40 yards, 2:20 TOP, 6:17 left
FG Rafael Gaglianone 42
Key Play: Wisconsin's running game had only two runs over 30 yards in the first five games of the season. They got number three at a critical time. Well blocked downfield by Alex Erickson, Ogunbowale went 32 yards to the Nebraska 32.
6 plays, 75 yards, 2:39 TOP, 3:38 left
Andy Janovich 55-yard run (Brown kick)
Key Play: Missed tackles by D'Cota Dixon and Michael Caputo allowed Janovich to break free.
6 plays, 42 yards, 1:03 TOP, :04 left
FG Rafael Gaglianone 46
Key Play: OLE! Gaglianone tucked the kick just inside the right upright to give the Badgers the lead ... and the win.
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