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Rapid Replay: Braelon Allen gets the game ball after Wisconsin football survives Nebraska
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Rapid Replay: Braelon Allen gets the game ball after Wisconsin football survives Nebraska

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University of Wisconsin freshman tailback Braelon Allen speaks to the media about meeting former UW running back Melvin Gordon after the Badgers defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers 35-28 on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.

Freshman tailback Braelon Allen added another chapter to a special freshman season by carrying the University of Wisconsin football team to a 35-28 win over Nebraska.

The No. 19 Badgers (8-3, 6-2 Big Ten) entered the game with the nation’s top defense in terms of yards allowed, but that unit struggled all afternoon with Nebraska’s offense. Allen, a 17-year-old from Fond du Lac, made history with a 228-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Cornhuskers (3-8, 1-7), including a 53-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that was the winning score.

UW’s defense stopped Nebraska’s final drive despite the Cornhuskers making it to the 11 on the series. The victory gives UW its seventh in a row, marking the second-longest win streak for coach Paul Chryst since he took over the program in 2015.

The Badgers notched their eight consecutive victory over the Huskers, keeping possession of the Freedom Trophy.

WHAT’S NEXT

Finishing the home schedule with a win over Nebraska likely won’t push the Badgers up too much in the College Football Playoff (No. 15) or Associated Press polls (No. 19). But if teams lose above them — as was the case last week when UW jumped three spots in the CFP — UW could climb again.

Next week’s Battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe at Minnesota has more than rivalry bragging rights at stake. Minnesota won at Indiana on Saturday, keeping it a game back in the Big Ten West. The Badgers can win the West and punch their ticket to Indianapolis for the Big Ten title game by beating the Gophers. If Iowa loses to Nebraska on Friday, the Gophers also would be in a win-and-in scenario.

GAME BALL

RB Braelon Allen

The freshman tallied a career-high 228 yards and had three touchdowns for the second week in a row. His physicality and ability to break tackles was on display often, and his talent has helped the Badgers resurrect a season that was on the verge of disaster after a 1-3 start. His career night came with his UW idol, former tailback Melvin Gordon, in attendance as the team’s honorary captain.

Honorable mention: S Collin Wilder

THREE KEY PLAYS

1. Allen’s 53-yard run

Nebraska had tied the game at 28-28 midway through the fourth quarter, but Allen and a number of strong blocks from the UW line were able to break the tie and give UW the lead for good.

Allen took the handoff to the right, knifed through a hole and sprinted past the second level and down the Badgers’ sideline. He broke a tackle attempt by Nebraska safety Myles Farmer about 35 yards downfield to ensure he’d score. It was his third touchdown of the game.

2. Austin Allen gets free

With the Huskers trailing by a touchdown and facing a fourth-and-2 near midfield, Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez found tight end Austin Allen for a back-breaker of a play that led to a 28-28 tie midway through the fourth quarter.

Martinez faked a handoff and started running to his right, giving the appearance of an option play he’d run earlier in the game. But he pulled back the ball and threw downfield to Allen, who was open often. Allen brought in the pass for a gain of 38 yards and went down at the UW 7, giving Nebraska a first-and-goal. Nebraska tied it two plays later.

3. Wilder’s second pick

After struggling to get stops and allowing Nebraska to tie the game in the third quarter, senior safety Collin Wilder created a turnover to swing the momentum and help UW maintain its fourth-quarter lead.

He essentially was playing outfield as Martinez heaved a throw deep down the Badgers’ sideline, well beyond any Nebraska receiver and Wilder settled under it and made the catch. It was Wilder’s second interception of the half after he ended the Cornhuskers’ drive coming out of halftime with a theft over the middle of the field. He had the first two-interception game by a Badgers defender since 2017.

University of Wisconsin seniors Jake Ferguson, Tyler Beach, Caesar Williams and Collin Wilder speak to the media after the Badgers defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers 35-28 on Senior Day, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.


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