To be completely honest I don’t know how to describe what happened in the last minute and a half in the game. I have never seen anything like that before.
Wisconsin was down six points and the ball on their own 26. An effecient drive down the field brought the Badgers to the Northwestern one yard line. A pass was originally called complete which gave Wisconsin the game winning touchdown with just seconds left in the game. After review, the pass was overturned. Then Northwestern came up with their biggest play by sacking Joel Stave with the clock ticking under 10 seconds. Stave started to limp off the field but the refs blew the play dead.
Now, at this point Wisconsin didn’t have any timeouts so a stoppage of the clock due to injury would result in a 10 second clock run off, thus ending the game. Before Stave walked to the off the field a heads up play by the running back stopped the clock with a spike. Stave was not able to come back in and backup quarterback Bart Houston threw an incomplete pass to bring the game to an end.
Even with all that chaos that wasn’t even the weirdest thing that happened. In. The third quarter Alex Erickson returned a punt 78-yards to give Wisconsin a 14-10 lead. A flag on the play ruled Erickson had called for a fair catch before recieving the ball, which would make the play dead as soon as he caught it. After a review of the play Erickson was signaling to his teammates not to touch it and never waved his hand over his head, which you have to do to to call a fair catch. This call cost Wisconsin the game as Northwestern forced them to punt and lose all momentum.
Wisconsin also did everything they could to hand Northwestern the game. Wisoconsin committed five turnovers yet Northwestern was only able to score ten points off those opportunities.
Scoring on those give-a-ways would have put the game out of reach for Wisconsin and the winding seconds would not have been filled with drama.
On the positive side Northwestern’s defense looked like the dominate squad who won five straight games. Dean Lowry spearheaded the defense as he consistently brought pressure and forced throws from Stave.
Justin Jackson racked up an other 100-yard game Saturday and scored his second touchdown in two games. Jackson had success running through the tackles and was able to make defenders miss. Northwestern’s commitment to the run allowed them to play a clean game with unfavorable conditions.
Northwestern’s win brings them closer to playing on New Years Eve and New Year’s Day. All Northwestern can do this upcoming week is prep for Illinois and see where the committee ranks them.