Nebraska's night magic disappears in rout by Wisconsin

Image courtesy of Eleven Warriors

Image courtesy of Eleven Warriors

When the 10th-ranked Badgers met the Cornhuskers Saturday night at Memorial Stadium, the teams were finally playing for something.

The most critical drive in Wisconsin's 38-17 victory over Nebraska appeared to be designed by Michael Deiter and his buddies on the UW offensive line.

The No. 9 Wisconsin Badgers (2-0 Big Ten, 5-0 overall) are known as a slow-and-steady to win the race kind of team, but they needed a little bit more hare than tortoise in their 38-17 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-1, 3-3).

The Huskers had a chance for a stake-in-the-ground victory but instead looked average.

The luster has faded from this season, especially with high-flying Ohio State coming to Lincoln next week.

After slow first drives from both sides, Wisconsin controlled the ball on their own 12 after forcing a quick Nebraska three-and-out.

"But you know, you're always looking to make a play".

UW finished with 353 rushing yards. "Those things against a team like that that's pretty methodical and eventually they're being as physical as they are, we just gave them too many opportunities".

Even with the early lead, Wisconsin's offense still couldn't get going.

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"On one drive, I told Micah Kapoi he could have played quarterback", Hornibrook said, referring to UW's reserve guard. He's a gunslinger, so in the sense of him being able to do what he does, I don't want us just to be running the ball the whole time.

I'm not usually one to keep track of missed calls by officials, but there was a bunch in this game - and at critical times.

The Huskers had a nine-play, 39-yard drive to end the third quarter, but were unable to convert on a 3rd and 6 and punted the ball back to the Badgers to begin the fourth quarter. Lee has 10 interceptions on the season. "I kinda wanted to be that guy to give us that spark", Taylor said.

"Mikale possibly could've played in a real emergency-type mode situation, but we never got to that where I thought about playing him", Riley said.

Taylor's 249 yards were the third-most rushing yards ever by a Nebraska opponent. It was Ozigbo's second career start. Dare Ogunbowale had 100-yard games the last two years against Nebraska.

Off the cuff, NU defensive coordinator Bob Diaco compared the experience to an airplane breaking apart in mid-air. Uh, not so fast. What was different? The Badgers are not Northern Illinois, Rutgers and Illinois. The Cornhuskers (3-3, 2-1) managed just 71 yards in the second half.

Taylor pounded his way a total of 19 yards on the next three plays, to set up Hornibrook's five-yard touchdown pass to Cephus on 3rd-and-Goal from the Nebraska 5 with 4:56 left in the quarter. After a rush by Taylor for no gain, Husker junior safety Aaron Williams made an outstanding play on the ball thrown into the flat toward the Wisconsin sideline and sprinted untouched into the end zone to tie the game at 17 with 10:43 left in the third.

Put it all together and Nebraska, while an afterthought nationally, was good enough to expose the problems that cropped up in Wisconsin's first four games.

Nebraska reached Badger territory on each of its first four drives but came up scoreless.

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