Lincoln – Nebraska running back Dedrick Mills rushed for a career-high 188 yards, but No. 15 Wisconsin held on for a 37-21 victory over the Huskers at Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Mills piled up his career-best totals on just 17 carries, averaging 11.1 yards per tote, including a 12-yard touchdown run to open the scoring in the first quarter. Sophomore quarterback Adrian Martinez added 89 yards on the ground despite being sacked four times for 34 yards, as the Huskers totaled 273 rushing yards in the game. Nebraska, which slipped to 4-6 overall and 2-5 in the Big Ten, finished with 493 total yards, including 220 yards on 13-of-23 passing from Martinez against the Badgers.
The visiting Badgers managed 482 total yards, including 204 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries from running back Jonathan Taylor. His total helped Wisconsin roll up 320 yards on the ground. UW quarterback Jack Coan went 13-for-21 through the air for 162 yards with one touchdown.
Although Wisconsin won by two scores, Nebraska finished with more total yards but missed three golden opportunities to score in the second half. Early in the third quarter, Nebraska had 1st-and-10 at the UW 24, before taking a long sack. The Huskers gained back the 21 yards lost on the play, setting up a 41-yard field goal attempt. However NU missed the field goal.
In the fourth quarter, Nebraska’s final two drives entered the Wisconsin red zone before the Huskers were stopped on downs at the UW 17 with 10:52 left. On NU’s final drive, the Huskers moved all the way to the UW 4, but were stopped at the goal line on 4th down with 2:11 on the clock.
Both teams committed a turnover in the game that was converted to points by the opposing offenses, but one the biggest differences in the game came on special teams, including Badger Aron Cruickshank’s 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to tie the game 7-7 with 5:16 left in the opening quarter.
The two teams went to the second quarter tied at 7-7 before the Badgers took their first lead on Collin Larsh’s 31-yard field goal with 11:22 left in the half. Nebraska answered with a five-play, 73-yard drive capped by Martinez’s two-yard touchdown run with 9:32 left to give the Huskers a 14-10 lead.
Wisconsin answered with a five-play drive of its own capped by Coan’s 55-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Taylor to put the Badgers back in front at 17-14. UW gained more momentum on Nebraska’s next offensive play, when Martinez’s pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage and intercepted by Jack Sanborn to set the Badgers up at the Big Red 21. Three plays later, Jonathan Taylor pounded his way in from one yard out to take a 24-14 lead.
Larsh added a 24-yard field goal for the Badgers with 11 seconds left in the half to take a 27-14 lead to the halftime locker room. It grew to 34-14 on Jonathan Taylor’s 11-yard touchdown run with 4:50 left in the third quarter to cap a run of 24 straight points for Wisconsin.
But the Huskers continued to fight, flying 75 yards in four plays, culminating with Martinez’s 23-yard touchdown strike to a wide open JD Spielman with 3:19 left in the third to pull within 34-21.
Nebraska wraps up its Big Ten road schedule by traveling to Maryland next Saturday to battle the Terrapins. Kick-off in College Park is set for 2:30 p.m. with live television coverage by BTN.