MADISON, Wis. - It had been 18 years since the Wisconsin football team knocked off an opponent ranked in the top five. It had been 22 years since the Badgers defeated a top-5 team at Camp Randall Stadium. That was until Saturday night. UW used a 79-yard fourth-quarter touchdown pass from backup quarterback Matt Schabert to Lee Evens to propel the 22nd-ranked Badgers to a 17-10 win over third-ranked and defending national champion Ohio State.
The victory snapped the Buckeyes' 19-game winning streak in the process and allowed Wisconsin to remain in a first-place tie with Michigan State in the Big Ten.
UW's last win over a top-5 team came on Nov. 16, 1985 when it defeated Ohio State 12-7 in Columbus, Ohio. The Badgers' last win over such a highly ranked opponent at home was Sept. 12, 1981 when it defeated top-ranked Michigan 21-14.
Wisconsin (6-1, 3-0 Big Ten) got the game-winning score with 5:20 remaining in the game. On second-and-nine from their own 21-yard line, Schabert – who entered the game late in the third quarter for injured starter Jim Sorgi – found Evans streaking down the right sideline after beating OSU cornerback Chris Gamble on an out-and-go pattern. Evans caught the ball in full stride and raced untouched to the end zone for the score. It was Evans' only reception of the game.
Ohio State had tied the game 10-10 just 49 seconds earlier on a six-yard pass from Craig Krenzel to Michael Jenkins. The touchdown catch capped a seven-play 75-yard drive that included a 45-yard completion from Krenzel to Drew Carter that got the Buckeyes down to the Wisconsin 6.
Booker Stanley was a workhorse for the Badgers, carrying 31 times for 125 yards and a touchdown. Prior to Saturday night, the most yardage an opposing team had rushed for against Ohio State this season was 121 by Northwestern. The Buckeyes came into the game leading the nation in rushing defense with a 43.4-yards-per-game average.
Stanley got UW on the board first, scoring from two-yards out on the opening play of the second quarter to help give the Badgers a 7-0 lead. OSU tallied its only points of the first half when Mike Nugent connected on a 24-yard field goal with 4:02 remaining in the second quarter.
The score remained 7-3 until Mike Allen pushed Wisconsin's lead back up to seven on a 38-yard field goal with 5:09 left in the third quarter. Sorgi was sidelined for the remainder of game on the previous play after taking a hard hit to the neck while scrambling for an eight-yard run. He completed 5-of-7 passes for 54 yards and one interception.
Schabert, seeing his most playing time since a 2001 game against Michigan State, was 2-of-3 passing for 104 yards and one score. Brandon Williams caught five passes for 57 yards.
Krenzel completed 14-of-26 for 202 yards and one touchdown. The stingy Badger defense allowed Ohio State to rush for just 69 yards on 26 carries. Meanwhile, Wisconsin rushed 48 times for 141 yards.
Notes: With tonight's 79-yard TD strike
to Evans, Schabert has now thrown three career TD passes, all to Evans, for 70,
3 and 79 yards, respectively …Wisconsin's 6-1 record after seven games is its
best since starting the 1998 season with a 7-0 mark…WR Lee Evans' 79-yard TD
reception in the fourth quarter was the second-longest of his career. His
longest was a 99-yarder earlier this season against Akron. Evans now has 20
career TD catches to move into sole possession of second place on Wisconsin's
all-time list. Evans also extended his school-record number of consecutive games
with a pass reception to 32 games…DB Jim Leonhard registered his fourth
interception of the season and 15th of his career tonight. Leonhard now stands
in fourth place on the all-time UW list…Tonight's attendance was 79,793, the
fifth-largest crowd in Camp Randall Stadium history. That marks the 66th
straight game that Wisconsin has drawn a crowd of at least 70,000 to 76,634-seat
Camp Randall Stadium. Among those 66 games, 56 have been sellouts.