For the second straight week the Badgers made an epic last second comeback in regulation, but for the 2nd straight week the Badgers failed to make that count in overtime as they fell 24-21 to Penn State in Happy Valley. For the second straight week the Badgers couldn't complete a huge 4th down play in overtime either, leading to a two game losing streak heading into their Big Ten Championship game matchup with Nebraska next Saturday night.
Wisconsin ends the regular season at 7-5 overall and 4-4 in Big Ten play while the host Nittany Lions completed a remarkable 8-4 season that won't be soon forgotten amongst the Nittany nation, not so much for the on the field accomplishments as for the fact that the senior class didn't let a tragic situation ruin their entire season after an 0-2 start.
As for the game, things started off perfectly for the Badgers as they took the opening kickoff and began marching down the field. The drive was capped off early thanks to a 57 yard TD pass from Phillips (12-25 passing, 191yds, 2TD's/1INT) to Melvin Gordon to open up a 7-0 lead on the first drive of the game. The drive took all of 4 plays for 74 yards and took less than 2 minutes off the board.
However, that was about the only highlight on a rather forgetful afternoon for the Badgers offense. Every possible stat went the Nittany Lions way, starting with time of possession (31:45 to 28:15) and ending with the difference making rushing advantage (163-158). Penn State's Zach Zwinack lead the game in rushing with 179 yards on 36 carries to lead them to victory.
Lost in the heartbreak of back-to-back overtime defeats for Wisconsin is the fact that Montee Ball set the all-time TD record in FBS history, tallying his 79th touchdown for a 14-7 Badger lead halfway through the 1st quarter.
With that TD the Badgers appeared in control of the game, but instead of lighting a fire under the Badgers it lit a fire under the emotionally charged Nittany Lions and things went 180 degrees to the other side of the momentum meter.
Wisconsin failed to find the endzone after the 1st quarter as the Nittany Lions defense and offense began to take over the game. Wisconsin went into the half up by the same 14-7 score that held trough the 1st quarter, but it wouldn't stay that way for long as Penn State converted on a pair of field goal opportunities to make it 14-13.
Penn State would take their first lead on on a 41 yard TD pass from Matt McGloin to the most unlikely of characters in Jesse James, no not the wild west outlaw (although it feels like he shot us all in heart), but the PSU tight end, early in the 4th quarter. After converting on the 2 point attempt it was 21-14.
That meant miracle time for Curt Phillips and company and after a few missed opportunities early in the 4th the Badgers came up huge late when it really counted, converting on a massive 16 play, 67 yard drive that ended with the unlikely, but all to familiar name of Jeff Duckworth catching the game tying pass to make it 21-21 with just 18 seconds remaining.
Wisconsin won the overtime toss and stopped the Nittany Lions on their first series, holding them to a field goal. However, once again the Wisconsin offense couldn't show up and left Kyle French with a difficult angle for a game tying field goal attempt. French pushed it wide left and the Badgers went down in overtime for the 2nd straight week.
The field goal difference was the 9th one score loss under Bret Bielema who's now got 9 of his 23 losses in games decided by a point or less . The loss also marks the first back-to-back November loss for Wisconsin under Bielema who is 7-3 overall in games following a loss as the head coach of Wisconsin.