Nov 20, 2021; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz (5) hands the football off to running back Braelon Allen (0) during the first quarter against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Badgers Come Up Short in Back-and-Forth Battle, Lose 17-14 in Week 2

Saturday’s football game between the No. 19 Wisconsin Badgers and the Washington State Cougars was par for the course in what the media described as “Upset Saturday.” Wisconsin was among the notable top 25 teams to lose, joining No. 9 Notre Dame and No. 6 Texas A&M.

The back-and-forth contest featured three turnovers from each team: Wisconsin taking the ball away twice via interception and one via fumble. On the flip side, Wisconsin gave the ball away twice on the ground and once through the air.

The comparisons between Wisconsin and Washington State end here, as the box score tells an entirely different story than the outcome.

Stats Favor the Badgers

If you look at the box score, you’d probably assume Wisconsin won, considering the Badgers bested the Cougars in nearly every team stat. UW produced 401 yards on offense, which bested the Cougars by 148 yards.

Wisconsin also came out on top in yards per play (5.3), first downs (23), third down efficiency (7/15), total plays (75), and time of possession (38:04).

New Cougars Play Key Role Against Defense

During the offseason, Washington State brought in two key assets to help improve their offense; quarterback Cameron Ward and former Wisconsin running back Nakia Watson.

Watson struck first against his former team, finding paydirt from two yards out to put the Cougars ahead with 9:47 left in the second quarter.

Then in the third quarter, Washington State’s new playmakers connected for their second touchdown of the day when Ward found Watson on a 31-yard touchdown pass. This score ended up being the difference in the ball game.

One Bright Spot

On a day when former Badgers tight end Travis Beckum was being honored for his induction into the Badger Hall of Fame (class of 2022), current Badgers TE Clay Cundiff had an impressive day of his own.

In the middle of the second quarter, QB Graham Mertz connected with Cundiff on a 17-yard pass to knot things up at 14 apiece.

A little over 6 minutes later, Mertz connected with the 6-foot-3, 236-pound TE on a 10-yard touchdown across the middle of the field.

Cundiff finished the day with four catches for 59 yards and two touchdowns.

What’s Next?

Following Saturday’s game, the Badgers (1-1) will remain in Madison to host the New Mexico State Aggies (0-2). The game starts at 2:30 PM CST and will air on BTN.

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