Evans number called in 'crunch time'

The Badgers waited and waited to throw to Lee Evans. They finally did with the game on the line

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For nearly 55 minutes, Lee Evans name was not called. When the Badgers most needed it though, Evans rose to the occasion yet again.


Only moments before, Ohio State had tied the game at 10-10, its mostly dormant offense awakening with a seven-play, 75-yard drive that spanned a mere two minutes, five seconds.


The Badgers, though, struck back even faster. The drive began innocently enough with a one-yard run from Booker Stanley. On second down from the Wisconsin 21, though, the Badgers turned to Evans to make a play.


Evans ran an out-and-up against all-world cornerback Chris Gamble and sold the out portion brilliantly. Gamble bit, Evans turned on the jets, and Wisconsin quarterback Matt Schabert, playing in place of injured signal-caller Jim Sorgi, delivered a beautiful pass to Evans, who caught it in stride at the Badgers 44 and sprinted the remaining 56 yards down the sideline to return the lead, the momentum and the game to Wisconsin.


"We just thought that was the right time to do it," Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez said. "Thought we had a chance to beat him."


"I stayed patient, let the game come to me. In crunch time, it came up and I made the play," Evans said, adding that the game ranked "up there number two probably cause the Rose Bowl is number one" for significance in his career.


The 79-yard touchdown reception was not only Evans first catch of the game, it was the first time a pass had been throw in his direction all evening and the 20th touchdown catch of Evans' illustrious career. The pass was also the longest of Schabert's career. Schabert's first career completion, interestingly, was a 70-yard touchdown strike to Evans two seasons ago against Michigan State.


"It is unfortunate that it wasn't a game where you featured Lee Evans and you got the ball out there to him, because he would've been exceptional in that," Alvarez said. "But when it came time, crunch time late in the game to make the play, there's nobody that I would rather have doing it than Lee Evans. You know, they asked about his speed. I think he opened it up a little bit and separated from whoever was chasing him."

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