GREEN BAY – Wisconsin fans have seen the story play out several times before: building a lead against a highly-ranked opponent only to cough it up by stumbling over itself on the way to a disheartening loss.
Thankfully Wisconsin’s players are young enough not to care about the past.
Blowing a 13-0 lead in the third quarter, Wisconsin clawed back against No.5 LSU thanks to a suffocating defense and a resilient offense to earn a landmark 16-14 victory at historic Lambeau Field Saturday in both team’s season opener.
Wisconsin (1-0) dominated in every category in the first 30 minutes but only could manage a minuscule 6-0 lead heading into the locker room after shooting itself in the foot. That changed coming out of the locker room.
After the Badgers’ defense continued to swarm LSU and junior tailback Leonard Fournette, Wisconsin scored the game’s first touchdown in only five plays and in less than two minutes, energizing the portion of the 77,823 decked out in cardinal and white. Then the turnovers happened, and momentum changed in only 67 seconds.
Bart Houston – making his first career start – stared down a receiver and allowed Tre’Davious White to jump the route and return it 21 yards for a score. Two plays later, Wisconsin wasted great field position when junior receiver George Rushing got greedy after making a first down, resulting in him coughing up the football.
Two plays later the Tigers were in the end zone, and the Badgers’ offense never recovered. Following the 13-0 lead, UW ran 13 plays, generating only 49 yards and making two turnovers. When the Badgers needed it most, however, UW delivered with a 58-yard drive to put the winning points on the board.
Corey Clement looked refreshed after an injury-plagued junior season and finished with 86 yards and a five-yard touchdown. Tight end Troy Fumagalli registered career highs in both catches (seven) and yards (100), including gains of 20 and 11 yards on the drive that gave UW its final points.
After an up-and-down sophomore year, Rafael Gaglianone delivered by going a perfect 3-for-3, including the winning 47-yard kick in the final minutes.
Thanks to Wisconsin’s defense, the Badgers outgained LSU 339-257, ran 73 plays to LSU’s 50 and overcame three turnovers by forcing three turnovers of its own.
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Wisconsin 16, No.5 LSU 14
9 plays, 24 yards, 4:12 TOP, 4:13 left
FG Rafael Gaglianone 30
Key Play: On the first play following a LSU, a sweep by Tigers tailback Derrius Guice was snuffed out by Leo Musso. Musso made the tackle and forced a fumble, recovered by junior Chikwe Obasih at the 36-yard line.
5 plays, 15 yards, :55 TOP, :54 left
FG Rafael Gaglianone 48
Key Play: Feeling like it needed to generate some momentum, LSU went for it on fourth-and-1 from its 46 by handing the ball to its big back in Leonard Fournette. The Badgers stopped him cold.
5 plays, 58 yards, 1:56 TOP, 10:55 left
Corey Clement 5-yard run (Gaglianone kick)
Key Play: After a poor LSU punt gave Wisconsin the ball on its own 42, the Badgers went play-action on the first play. With Troy Fumagalli getting inside on linebacker Arden Key, Houston dropped the pass right into his hands for a 23-yard gain to the LSU 31.
Tre'Davious White 21-yard interception return (Colby Delahoussaye kick)
Key Play: Bart Houston had made a lot of good throws but this one wasn't. Going through his progressions in the pocket, Houston locked on Wheelwright and White read it perfectly, cutting the route and zigzagging his way into the end zone.
2 plays, 41 yards, :18 TOP, 4:21 left
Travin Dural 10-yard pass from Brandon Harris (Delahoussaye kick)
Key Play: After George Rushing's inexplicable fumble near midfield, Harris hit Fournette for a 31-yard pass after the junior snuck out of the backfield and went on a go-route down the sideline.
8 plays, 48 yards, 4:27 TOP, 3:47 left
FG Rafael Gaglianone 47
Key Play: A sputtering offense finally delivered some big gashes, as Troy Fumagalli had a 20-yard catch into LSU territory and Dare Ogunbowale followed it with a 14-yard run - the longest UW rush of the day - down to the LSU 33.
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