EVANSTON, Ill. – The Northwestern Wildcats are 5-0 in Big Ten play for the first time since 1996 after their victory over No. 10 Wisconsin, 17-7, on Saturday night, Northwestern’s first win over a top-10 opponent since 2011.
The Wildcats’ defense was dominant all game long, forcing five turnovers, the most Wisconsin has allowed against Northwestern since 2015. The ‘Cats also held the Badgers scoreless for the final three quarters of the game. Northwestern improves to 6-1 against Wisconsin in games at Ryan Field since 2000.
Graduate transfer Peyton Ramsey threw for 203 yards, completing 23-of-44 passes and ending the game with a quarterback efficiency of 106. Senior wide receivers Ramaud Chiaokiao-Bowman and Kyric McGowan both set career highs in receiving yards with 95 and 80 yards, respectively.
Northwestern opened up scoring within the first five minutes, with junior Charlie Mangieri hauling in a 2-yard pass for his first career touchdown. He becomes the fifth Wildcat to catch a touchdown pass this season and continued Northwestern’s opening drive touchdown streak, having done so in four of its five games this season.
On Wisconsin’s second possession, senior Paddy Fisher, forced a fumble and the Wildcat offense was back out on the field. Fisher has the most forced fumbles in program history and is the active FBS leader, with 11 on his career.
One play later, the ‘Cats executed a trick play as Chiaokhiao-Bowman hauled in a 36-yard pass from fellow senior wideout Riley Lees, the first time a non-NU quarterback completed a pass in a game since Jeremy Larkin at the Music City Bowl in 2017.
The Badgers responded with a fumble recovery and touchdown of their own, their only score of the game. The teams traded possessions and senior Blake Gallagher forced his first career fumble on his second career sack to stop Wisconsin’s next drive and put the offense back on the field to end the first quarter.
Sophomore Eku Leota opened up the field for the Northwestern offense early in the second quarter. Leota now has four sacks over the last four games and this is the first time in his career recording multiple TFLs and a sack in back-to-back games.
Redshirt first-year Brandon Joseph brought in two interceptions late in the second quarter, denying the Badgers a chance to score. His second interception allowed Northwestern to end the first half with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Chiaokiao-Bowman, giving the ‘Cats the lead 14-7.
It was defensive battle in the third quarter, with both teams trading possessions and remaining scoreless heading into the final quarter.
Wisconsin opened up with a drive to the Northwestern 23-yard line, but Junior Cameron Ruiz came up with a sack on fourth down to give the ball back to the ‘Cats. After a 53-yard drive, senior Charlie Kuhbander put one through the uprights to extend Northwestern’s lead to 17-7.
Junior Greg Newsome II grabbed his first career interception to close out the fourth quarter, becoming the eighth player to post an interception this season.
The Wildcats will be back in action on Saturday, Nov. 28 as they travel to East Lansing to take on the Michigan State Spartans.