Torched on defense and looking pedestrian on offense, No.14 Wisconsin was embarrassed 31-21 on senior day by Penn State, and knocks the Badgers (9-3, 6-2 Big Ten) out of the BCS conversation with one week remaining in the season.
Wisconsin hadn't lost a game at home all season and Penn State hadn't won a true road game, but one never would have known with the Nittany Lions (7-5, 4-4) scoring 24 straight points over a three-quarter span to assume full control.
Wisconsin's usually-stout defense, giving up only 6.0 points per game at home this season, was torched by true freshman Christian Hackenberg. The true freshman threw touchdown passes of 68, 3, 7, and 58 yards, the last of which put Penn State up 31-14 and delivered a sucker-punch to UW's sideline.
Quarterback Joel Stave threw three touchdown passes, including two to tight end Brian Wozniak, but it was the throws he didn't make that were costly. Not only did Stave overthrow Abbrederis multiple times, he threw three interceptions in Penn State territory that cost Wisconsin points.
Wisconsin's running game was held to 120 yards, its second-lowest output of the season, but the Badgers managed to score 10 straight points to make it a one score game with a little over four minutes left. UW got the ball back with 31 seconds left and drove to the Penn State 40, but Stave's end-zone pass was picked off with one second left.
The Badgers are likely headed to Orlando's Capital One Bowl while Penn State will spent its offseason basking in a another season-ending victory over the Badgers.
coverage from Badgernation.com, the Internet's No.1 subscriber site for UW sports
7-0 Penn State
4 plays, 79 yards, 1:49 TOP, 13:05 left
Adam Breneman 68-yard pass from Christian Hackenberg (Ficken kick)
Key Play: The longest play against Wisconsin's defense all season, Breneman was wide open on a coverage bust, broke a Nate Hammon one-on-one tackle attempt and waltzed into the end zone from there.
11 plays, 71 yards, 4:59 TOP, 11:50 left
Brian Wozniak 4-yard pass from Joel Stave (Jack Russell kick)
Key Play: After sailing a couple passes over his head throughout the first quarter, Joel Stave finally connects with Jared Abbrederis for a 16-yard gain on third-and-8, getting UW down to the Penn State 4.
11 plays, 77 yards, 5:36 TOP, 5:05 left
Jeff Duckworth 20-yard pass from Joel Stave (Jack Russell kick)
Key Play: Facing a third-and-16, Stave connected with tight end Jacob Pedersen, who made a sliding catch for a 23-yard gain to the Penn State 30. Stave was 5 of 6 for 74 yards on the drive.
7 plays, 71 yards, 3:34 TOP, 1:16 left
Eugene Lewis 3-yard pass from Hackenberg (Finken kick)
Key Play: An overthrown pass appeared to bring up a third down at the UW 31, but true freshman Sojourn Shelton was called for a questionable pass interference penalty, giving Penn State a first down at the UW 16.
21-14 Penn State
10 plays, 67 yards, 4:35 TOP, 8:29 left
Jesse James 7-yard pass from Hackenberg (Finken kick)
Key Play: Wisconsin's defense looks completely disorganized, running plays with 9, 10, 11 and 12 guys on the field.
24-14 Penn State
4 plays, 8 yards, 1:31 TOP, 4:56 left
FG Sam Ficken 28
Key Play: Wisconsin drove to the Penn State 40, but pressure on Joel Stave forced the ball loose that C.J. Olaniyan picked up and returned to the UW 19. The play was eventually ruled an interception.
31-14 Penn State
4 plays, 62 yards, 1:15 TOP, 12:59 left
Eugene Lewis 59-yard pass from Christian Hackenberg (Ficken kick)
Key Play: Despite double coverage from Peniel Jean and Tanner McEvoy and pressure from UW's defensive line, Hackenberg stayed in the pocket to deliver a strike to Lewis, and putting UW's BCS hopes on life support.
31-21 Penn State
13 plays, 76 yards, 2:29 TOP, 5:38 left
Brian Wozniak 5-yard pas from Joel Stave(Jack Russell kick)
Key Play: Stave was 8-for-12 on the drive, including a nice 14-yard catch by Duckworth on first down, but is it too little too late?
31-24 Penn State
6 plays, 28 yards, :56 TOP, 4:13 left
FG Jack Russell 48
Key Play: UW needed a big special teams play and the Badgers got it when Leo Musso's blocked punt gave the Badgers the ball near midfield.
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