Unforced errors and a pair of late injuries doomed the Wisconsin Badgers (1-3 overall, 0-2 Big Ten) on Saturday afternoon as UW lost to No. 14 Michigan (5-0 overall, 2-0 Big Ten) 38-17. Just after the offense appeared to have found some rhythm, the Badgers lost starting QB Graham Mertz and star TE Jake Ferguson to chest injuries.
Following a tumultuous start to the game, Wisconsin scored on back-to-back drives to end the first half and appeared to be in the driver’s seat heading into the half as they would also receive the second half kickoff. During those two drives Mertz, who up until that moment this season had looked rushed and frantic in the backfield, looked sharp and poised instead.
Mertz started off the game 0-for-4 on Wisconsin’s opening four drives, where Wisconsin went three-and-out on each drive, but was 8-for-10 for 115 yards and a touchdown pass in Wisconsin’s two scoring drives at the end of the half.
Mertz began Wisconsin’s first scoring drive with a perfect strike to Ferguson with Wisconsin’s backs against the goal line. Mertz later found Kendric Pryor multiple times, as Wisconsin went on a 15-play, 78-yard drive spanning over seven minutes of game clock, ending in a Collin Larsh 34-yard field goal.
Following a Jake Moody 47-yard field goal answer by Michigan, and a pooch kickoff attempt that gave Wisconsin decent field position, Mertz and company went back onto the field with just 27 seconds left.
Following a Braelon Allen rush, Mertz completed a 36-yard completion to Chimere Dike and then another 18-yard completion to Dike for a score. The first half ended with Wisconsin having all of the momentum despite trailing 13-10.
However, the second half started with Mertz taking two big hits, one of which coming on a sack on third down and Mertz never returned with a chest injury. Chase Wolf then entered the game and Wisconsin’s offense was never the same. With Mertz out, Michigan scored 25-straight points on an exhausted Wisconsin defense aided by two Wolf turnovers. Wolf added a late touchdown pass to Clay Cundiff.
Too little too late, but this catch was a beauty pic.twitter.com/gyQ8Y3ci6p— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 2, 2021
More to come from Camp Randall, hooray!