Wisconsin wins opener 24-17

The Badgers came from behind to record a thrilling victory in the season opener.

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The Wisconsin football team (1-0) scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to come from behind and beat the West Virginia Mountaineers (0-1) 24-17 in Morgantown, W. Va. With the scored tied at 17 and 2:57 remaining in the game, running back Anthony Davis scored the game-winning touchdown on a two-yard run to give the Badgers their first victory of the season. Davis led all rushers with 167 yards on 30 carries.

West Virginia had a final chance to rally in the closing minutes, but a pair of stellar plays by linebacker Alex Lewis thwarted the Mountaineer comeback effort. With just under three minutes remaining Lewis broke up a pass as West Virginia tried to convert on third down. On the following play Lewis sacked Mountaineer quarterback Rasheed Marshall on fourth down to force a turnover on downs and seal the victory for the Badgers.

Wisconsin special teams play helped the Badgers get on the scoreboard in the opening minutes of the contest. With 13:44 on the clock in the first quarter Lewis blocked a Todd James punt that rolled back into the Wisconsin end zone and was eventually recovered by Kareem Timbers to give the Badgers an early 7-0 advantage. However, the Mountaineers answered with a touchdown on the following drive and would score 17 unanswered points to take a 17-7 lead early in the third quarter. With 5:36 remaining in the third quarter kicker Scott Campbell made a 29-yard field goal attempt to break a Badgers scoreless drought that lasted nearly three quarters.

Lee Evans, who has not played in a game since Nov. 24, 2001 due to a knee injury, had a successful comeback game catching seven passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. On third down with 12 yards to go and the Badgers trailing by a touchdown, quarterback Jim Sorgi scrambled and found a leaping Evans who fought off a defender and broke a pair of tackles to dive into the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown reception. Campbell added the extra point to knot the score at 17 in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.

Sorgi, who won his first game as a Badger starting quarterback, completed 20 of 34 passes for 216 yards. The senior captain also had a solid game on the ground scampering for 47 yards on nine carries. Sorgi threw to six different Badger targets in the game, including Brandon Williams (seven catches for 89 yards) and former backup quarterback Owen Daniels (three catches for 41 yards).

After yielding a touchdown early in the third quarter, the Wisconsin defense shutout the Mountaineer offense in their final five possessions of the game. The Badger defense forced two sacks and limited West Virginia to 137 passing yards.

With the win today, the Badgers have now won six straight season openers. Wisconsin is now 87-25-3 in season openers, including 10-4 under Head Coach Barry Alvarez.

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