World-Herald staff writer Rich Kaipust takes a look at key players, plays and more on both sides of the ball.
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TRACKING THE OFFENSE
NU STAR: Give the Nebraska offensive line credit for continuing to plug away against a pretty solid run-stopping defense. The Huskers had just 31 yards on their first 12 carries, but found a way to finish with 265 rushing overall. The front five paved the way.
HIGHLIGHT: Nebraska was down 20-3 and had gone three-and-out on its previous series when it put together a 12-play, 93-yard drive in the second quarter. Taylor Martinez completed 7 of 7 passes for 53 yards on the possession, and capped it with a 3-yard touchdown pass to I-back Rex Burkhead.
BUSTED PLAY: Burkhead had running room and appeared headed for first-down yardage starting the Huskers’ second possession. But Burkhead ran up on right guard Spencer Long, lost his grip on the football and Wisconsin recovered at the NU 23. The Badgers scored six plays later for a 14-0 lead.
OUR TAKE: Nebraska didn’t stray too far from its game plan even after Wisconsin took a 14-0 lead. The running contributions of Martinez (13 carries, 107 yards) made a huge difference. Also, Burkhead came through like his old self with runs of 4, 11 and 21 yards as Nebraska drove to its go-ahead field goal in the fourth quarter. The down side was the trouble holding on to the ball, but the Huskers were lucky enough to recover three of their five offensive fumbles.
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TRACKING THE DEFENSE
NU STAR: Nebraska had to dust off its three-linebacker base defense, and the trio of seniors responded. Will Compton had 10 tackles, Alonzo Whaley nine and Sean Fisher seven. They also combined for six of the Huskers’ 12 tackles for losses.
HIGHLIGHT: Whaley shot through and dropped Montee Ball for a 3-yard loss on Wisconsin’s final offensive play, a fourth-and-1 from the Badgers’ 49 with 1:11 left. Whaley also knocked the football loose — a rare fumble for the sure-handed tailback — and Harvey Jackson recovered.
BUSTED PLAY: It was a disputable call, but Nebraska helped keep Wisconsin’s final hopes alive when Mohammed Seisay was called for pass interference as he ran down the right sideline with Chase Hammond. It gave the Badgers a first down at their own 40 with 2:08 left.
OUR TAKE: Nebraska knuckled down after halftime, and the only seven points for the Badgers after the break came when the Huskers lost a fumble on their own 13. Ball scored three touchdowns, but NU appeared to like the challenge of stopping the downhill running game. The 2011 Heisman finalist finished with only 90 yards on 32 carries (2.8 per attempt).