Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Cameron Ward guides Washington State to upset over No. 19 Wisconsin

Cameron Ward threw two touchdown passes and directed a late scoring drive as Washington State held off No. 19 Wisconsin 31-22 in a non-conference game on Saturday night in Pullman, Wash., upsetting a ranked Badgers team for the second straight season.

Wisconsin (1-1), which trailed 24-9 at the half, cut the deficit to 24-22 and took over on the Cougars’ 49-yard line with 9:45 remaining. Badgers running back Chez Mellusi fumbled on the second play, with Jackson Lataimu recovering for the Cougars (2-0).

Ward then directed a 10-play, 57-yard march, capped by Nakia Watson’s 1-yard plunge to put the Cougars up 31-22 with 5:30 remaining. Ward keyed the drive with runs of 23 and 14 yards.

The Badgers’ ensuing drive ended on Tanner Mordecai’s deep incompletion on fourth-and-7 from their own 48.

Watson, who had two touchdowns in last season’s 17-14 upset of Wisconsin, where he played his first two seasons, secured the victory with a 6-yard gain on third-and-7 on the Cougars’ final drive.

Ward completed 20 of 32 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns, and added a team-high 43 rushing yards on 17 attempts. Lincoln Victor had seven catches for 55 yards and one score.

The Badgers were held to just 90 yards rushing on 29 attempts. Mellusi had 49 yards on 12 carries, but Braelon Allen managed just 20 yards on seven carries. Mordecai completed 25 of 40 passes for 278 yards and one score. Wisconsin, which opened with a 38-17 win over Buffalo, also lost three fumbles.

After a lackluster first half, Wisconsin put together two third-quarter scoring drives to pull within 24-22.

Mellusi scored on a 2-yard run to cap a 35-yard drive to make it 24-16. The Badgers scored again on their next possession when Mordecai hit Skyler Bell with a 16-yard touchdown pass with 25 seconds left in the quarter. But Mellusi was stopped on the two-point conversion run.

Washington State took advantage of Wisconsin’s mistakes to build the 24-6 halftime lead.

Ward put the Cougars up 7-0 on their second possession, capping an eight-play, 62-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown toss to Kyle Williams.

Nathanial Vakos brought Wisconsin within 7-3 with a 49-yard field goal.

Ward’s second scoring pass, a 1-yarder to Victor, capped an 87-yard march that put the Cougars up 14-3.

Vakos and Dean Janikowski traded field goals, putting Washington State up 17-6 with 7:14 left in the first half.

The Cougars pushed the lead to 24-6 when Ron Stone Jr. sacked Mordecai and Brennan Jackson recovered the fumble and took it 2 yards for the touchdown.

Vakos hit a 29-yard field goal with 21 seconds left in the half.

–Field Level Media

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Reportng - Field Level Mediahttp://fieldlevelmedia.com
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