Play of the game
Let’s go 1a and 1b. First, Quintez Cephus’ 61-yard reception in the third quarter. Northwestern sells out on a 3rd-and-3, which leaves the sophomore wide receiver open deep down the field for a substantial gain down to the Northwestern 11-yard line. Jonathan Taylor then found the opening he needed off the edge for an 11-yard touchdown run to give Wisconsin a lead it would not relinquish.
Cephus ended the day with four receptions for 99 yards, and his presence in the passing game showcases a young nucleus of promising receivers in him, A.J. Taylor, and Danny Davis, who also contributed a 32-yard gain on Wisconsin’s next offensive series.
The second play of the game was Natrell Jamerson’s 36-yard pick-six to give Wisconsin a 31–10 lead. Without the interception return for a touchdown, we’re looking at a whole different ball game. The senior safety also registered six tackles, a half-sack, and those two interceptions on the afternoon.
Outside linebacker Garret Dooley. What a day for the redshirt senior. He led the team in sacks (3.5) and tackles for loss (five), and recorded nine tackles in the 33–24 win. Dooley leads the team in both categories after his big day.
Safety D’Cota Dixon. The redshirt junior sealed the win with the safety on Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson late in the fourth quarter. Dixon, one of Wisconsin’s team captains, recorded 12 tackles and 1.5 sacks against the Wildcats. On Saturday, he showed his ability to disguise blitzes and put pressure on the quarterback.
Safety Natrell Jamerson. Not just for his defensive prowess as noted above, but his special teams play. He downed Anthony Lotti’s punt at the two-yard line late in the fourth quarter, which forced Northwestern to start deep in its own territory. Two plays later, Dixon sacked Thorson for the safety.
Honorable mention: Inside linebackers T.J. Edwards, Chris Orr, and Ryan Connelly (23 combined tackles); young wide receivers Cephus and Davis (seven combined receptions, 149 yards, one touchdown).
- Eleven NFL teams were noted to be in attendance during Saturday’s win. They included the Green Bay Packers (with general manager Ted Thompson), Jacksonville Jaguars, Washington Redskins, New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Rams, Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, and Baltimore Ravens.
- Attendance was 80,584, a full sell-out.
- Wisconsin is now 27–7 in conference play from 2013-present. Only Ohio State, who is 33–3 after defeating Rutgers 56–0 on Saturday, holds a better record in that timeframe.
- The Badgers have scored over 30 points in all four games this season. According to UW, the team has hit that mark in eight of its last nine games and 14 total with Chryst as head coach.
- Wisconsin held Justin Jackson and the Northwestern rushing attack to 25 yards, which is the fewest allowed to a Big Ten opponent since 2008 vs. Michigan State.
- The eight sacks by the Badgers are the most since they notched eight against Penn State in 2001.
- Hornibrook’s 61-yard pass to Cephus was the Badgers’ longest this season.
[Update Oct. 1, 2:30 p.m. CT: According to UW, Dooley actually recorded 3.5 sacks on the afternoon. We’ve adjusted his sacks, tackles for loss and tackles accordingly]