ANN ARBOR, Mich. – A lot of gut and a lot of grit from its defense couldn’t save No.8 Wisconsin from an anemic offensive performance.
A hard-fought affair wasn’t decided until the midpoint of the fourth quarter, as Amara Darboh’s 46-yard touchdown catch from Wilton Spreight proved to be the difference in No.4 Michigan’s 14-7 victory at Michigan Stadium Saturday.
With senior outside linebacker Vince Biegel back in Madison recovering after foot surgery Thursday, the Badgers (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) didn’t appear to miss much of a beat. While the Wolverines were able to grind out some yards on the ground, Wisconsin’s defense held Michigan (5-0, 2-0) to 3-for-14 on third down and delivered countless critical stops against an offense that came in averaging 52 points per game.
It was all for naught, not with Wisconsin’s offense nowhere to be found.
Held to only 159 yards and eight first downs, the Badgers’ lone touchdown came after cornerback Derrick Tindal’s 46-yard interception return off a Jack Cichy tipped pass gave UW its best field position at the Michigan 31.
Wisconsin’s offense needing only five plays and two perfectly thrown Alex Hornibrook timing routes to tie the score.
That was the lone bright spot for Hornibrook, who threw two interceptions to Channing Stribling. His last one was a killer, over shooting an open Rob Wheelwright and seeing the ball fall into the hands of the senior cornerback with 3:24 remaining.
Even after Wisconsin’s defense held, burning all three timeouts to allow only 25 seconds to come off the clock, nothing changed for the Badgers, as cornerback Jourdan Lewis put the final nail in the coffin with a fourth-down interception at the Wisconsin 46.
Hornibrook finished 9-for-25 for 88 yards, while tailback Corey Clement managed only 68 yards on 17 carries.
Wisconsin is on its bye next week before hosting No.2 Ohio State (5-0, 2-0) on Oct.15 at 7 p.m.
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11 plays, 77 yards, 4:41 TOP, 14:56 left
Khalid Hill 1-yard run (Kenny Allen kick)
Key Play: Wisconsin had given up only two runs over 20 yards all season, including none in the past two games, but Chris Evans caught UW flat footed up the middle for a 22-yard burst to the Wisconsin 49.
5 plays, 31 yards, 2:25 TOP, 8:03 left
Dare Ogunbowale 17-yard pass from Alex Hornibrook (Andrew Endicott kick)
Key Play: An outstanding play by linebacker Jack Cichy, who made a diving tip of a pass attempt over the middle into the hands of Derrick Tindal. With room to run, the Badgers cornerback returned the ball 46 yards to the Michigan 31.
4 plays, 64 yards, 1:53 TOP, 7:56 left
Amara Darboh 46-yard pass from Wilton Speight (Ryan Tice kick)
Key Play: Darboh made a simple fake at the line of scrimmage to get cornerback Derrick Tindal off his mark and then just turned on the jets, running a simple go route and catching a perfectly placed pass from Speight inside the five and walking in for the score.
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