Wisconsin Embarrasses Penn State in the Regular Season Finale
Penn State’s regular season came to an end in embarrassing fashion on Saturday, losing to Wisconsin (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten) 45-7 in Madison. With the loss, the Nittany Lions (9-3, 6-2 Big Ten) will not play in the Big Ten Championship game, and dreams of a trip to the Rose Bowl are dashed.
The Nittany Lions got the scoring started thanks to a Wisconsin penalty. The Badgers ran into the kicker on a Penn State punt, giving the Nittany Lions a free first down. Four plays later, Matt McGloin found a wide open Curtis Drake for a 44-yard touchdown to put Penn State up 7-0. Little did the Nittany Lions know that they would not score again.
The Badgers answered immediately with a scoring drive of their own. A healthy dose of runs from Montee Ball with a few Russell Wilson passes equated to a 10-play, 76-yard touchdown drive. Wilson found Jared Abbrederis for 21 yards and a touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 with 3:32 remaining in the first quarter.
Wisconsin made another special teams blunder, kicking the ball out of bounds on the kickoff. However, Penn State could not do anything with the good field position. McGloin was intercepted, and the Badgers drove 50 yards for another touchdown to go up 14-7. Ball scored his 26th rushing touchdown of the season on the first play of the second quarter.
The Badgers went up by 14 with 2:09 left in the first half. Wisconsin went 83 yards on 11 plays, capped off by another touchdown from Ball. The score would not stay 21-7 for long however. Mike Zordich fumbled the ensuing kickoff return to give Wisconsin the ball at the Penn State 31-yard line. The Badgers turned the good field position into another touchdown when Wilson threw a 4-yard pass to Nick Toon to go up 28-7.
The Penn State defense, which had given up just 287.4 yards and 13 points per game, gave up 278 yards and 28 points to the Badger offense in the first half. Offensively, after a successful opening drive, the Nittany Lions were plagued by turnovers and penalties. McGloin went 5-for-10 for 70 yards, and the Nittany Lions managed a meager 41 yards on the ground.
Penn State’s misery continued in the second half. Silas Redd fumbled on the opening drive, giving the Badgers the ball in Penn State territory. Wisconsin capitalized on the turnover with Ball’s third touchdown of the game to go up 35-7. Ball continued to pile it on with another touchdown with 4:01 left in the third quarter to put the Badgers up 42-7.
Wisconsin tacked on three more points after yet another Penn State turnover. The Nittany Lions fumbled a punt return, and the Badgers recovered. For the first time in the game, Wisconsin had to line up for a field goal. Philip Welch made the 44-yard attempt to put the Badgers up 45-7.
Ball finished with four touchdowns and 156 yards rushing. Wilson threw for 186 yards and had 36 on the ground. As a team, the Badgers had 448 yards. Penn State manged just 220 yards. The Nittany Lions turned the ball over four times and committed seven penalties for 48 yards.