Badgers football: Wisconsin survives pesky Northwestern to win 33-24

September 30, 2017 GMT

Saturday’s contest started and ended like one has come to expect from a typical University of Wisconsin-Northwestern game.

In the first half, the Wildcats were up to the task, the Badgers looked nothing like a top-10 team and UW appeared in jeopardy of suffering a serious blow to its promising season. As time winded down in the fourth quarter, Northwestern scored two late touchdowns to cut a big Badgers lead down to one score and give fans at Camp Randall Stadium yet another scare.

In the end, UW survived the pesky Wildcats, holding off their late charge for a 33-24 victory.

UW freshman running back Jonathan Taylor finished with 80 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. Quarterback Alex Hornibrook had a rough first half in which he threw two interceptions, but finished 11-of-20 passing for 197 yards and one touchdown.

The Badgers’ defense sacked Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson eight times, three coming from Badgers outside linebacker Garrett Dooley.

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Wide receiver Jazz Peavy lost a fumble on the first play from scrimmage, but UW managed to hold the Wildcats to a field goal. Along with Hornibrook’s two interceptions, the Badgers put the ball on the ground two more times in the first half but recovered both times.

Taylor gave UW the lead on a 7-yard run late in the first quarter, but a 12-play, 44-yard touchdown drive put Northwestern up 10-7 with 2 minutes, 38 seconds remaining in the first half.

A 61-yard pass from Hornibrook to Danny Davis on the Badgers’ third play from scrimmage in the second half kicked UW’s offense into gear, and Taylor scored an 11-yard touchdown on the next play. Davis also caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Hornibrook on the Badgers’ next possession to take a 21-10 lead.

Northwestern ended its first four second-half series with punts before Thorson threw a interception to Natrell Jamerson, who returned the ball 36 yards for a touchdown to put the Badgers up 31-10.

The Wildcats scored two touchdowns in the final five minutes but failed to recover an onside kick with 2:53 remaining. They got the ball back one last time on their own 2-yard line with 1:09 left, but UW safety D’Cota Dixon tackled Thorson in the end zone for a safety.