Graham Mertz threw a touchdown pass and ran for the winning touchdown with 35 seconds remaining as Wisconsin defeated Nebraska 15-14 in a Big Ten game Saturday in Lincoln, Neb.
The Badgers (6-5, 4-4), who never led until the final minute, took over at midfield with 3:11 left after a Nebraska punt.
Mertz’s 27-yard pass to Isaac Guerendo produced a first down at the 7 and three plays later, Mertz rushed 1 yard for the winning score.
Nebraska’s Casey Thompson threw two touchdown passes to Trey Palmer, but that wasn’t enough to prevent the Cornhuskers (3-8, 2-6) from losing their fifth straight game.
Wisconsin outgained Nebraska 318 yards to 171.
Both teams punted on their first possession of the second half before the Badgers put together their best drive of the game.
They drove to a first and goal at the 5 and reached the 1 before a false-start penalty and an incomplete pass.
The 14-play, 74-yard march produced Nate Van Zeist’s 25-yard field goal that trimmed the Huskers lead to 7-3 with 4:50 left in the third quarter.
Nebraska answered on the ensuing possession by driving 79 yards in nine plays with Thompson and Palmer connecting on a 19-yard touchdown pass that increased the lead to 14-3 at the end of the period.
Mertz threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Skyler Bell but a two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving the Huskers with a 14-9 lead with 10:07 left.
The first five possessions of the game ended with punts and the game was scoreless at the end of the first quarter.
The biggest play of the first half came at the 10:13 mark of the second quarter when Malcolm Hartzog intercepted Mertz and returned the ball 23 yards to the Wisconsin 37.
Eight plays later Thompson threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Palmer for a 7-0 lead that Nebraska took into halftime after Van Zeist missed a 39-yard field goal with 14 seconds left in the half.
The Badgers held the ball for nearly 18 minutes and outgained the Huskers 111 yards to 95 in the opening half.
–Field Level Media