Wisconsin wins bowl in Luke Fickell’s debut, Jim Leonhard’s sendoff

Wisconsin had a brand new coach on the sideline, with the interim coach nonetheless calling the photographs. The Badgers had a number of new gamers in key positions, together with quarterback.

A protracted, sometimes-difficult season got here to a conclusion with extra adversity — and, finally, a win.

A 17-point lead practically erased, Wisconsin dug down for one final defensive play to beat Oklahoma State 24-17 within the Assured Charge Bowl on Tuesday evening.

“It ended exactly the way we wanted it to — we got the win,” mentioned Braelon Allen, who ran for 116 yards and scored on a 20-yard landing.

Luke Fickell, employed away from Cincinnati after a visit to the Faculty Soccer Playoff final season, joined the staff on the sideline for the bowl sport. He wasn’t there to run the present, although; all the choices have been left to interim coach Jim Leonhard.

The Badgers had every thing working within the first half. The offense had stability, the protection stifling whereas they constructed a 17-point lead.

Within the second half, Wisconsin (7-6) slowed down on the slippery Chase Discipline turf and the protection began giving up chunk performs because the Cowboys rode their manner again.

Cedrick Dort lastly ended Oklahoma State’s momentum, intercepting Garret Rangel’s go with three minutes left, preserving the Badgers’ eighth win of their previous 9 bowl video games.

“This is what I envisioned what this was about from afar,” Fickell mentioned. “And that’s what they’ve shown me over the last three and a half weeks: they want to be here, they want to do it together and they want to do it the right way.”

The Cowboys misplaced 4 of 5 to shut out the common season and struggled offensively whereas falling right into a 24-7 gap halfway via the third quarter. Rangel had the lone offensive spotlight within the first half with an enormous help from Stephon Johnson Jr., who broke a few tackles to show a swing go into an 84-yard landing.

“We had the one big play, but other than that we weren’t able to sustain anything,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy mentioned.

Rangel led Oklahoma State again, throwing for 229 yards and two touchdowns instead of Spencer Sanders, who entered the switch portal.

The freshman improvised on a fourth-and-goal by shoveling a go to Ollie Gordon whereas within the grasp of a defender to open the fourth quarter and arrange Tanner Brown’s 24-yard subject aim to drag the Cowboys to 24-17.

With momentum again on Oklahoma State’s aspect, Rangel tried to make an enormous play downfield after one other Oklahoma State second-half defensive cease. Dort pulled it again to the Badgers by chopping inside John Paul Richardson for what ended up being the game-clinching interception.

“We came out here with a little bit of a reduced roster and new guys were involved, and we had to kind of find our way,” Gundy mentioned. “Guys competed in practice hard for three weeks. Had a great week of practice out here, so I was proud of them.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Oklahoma State: The Cowboys revved up their offense just a little too late to mount the comeback, leaving coach Mike Gundy at 9 bowl wins, tied for seventh place on the profession listing.

Wisconsin: the Badgers had a brand new coach on the sideline and a number of other new gamers a key positions, together with quarterback. Wisconsin floor out the win after its offense stalled, sending Leonhard off with a win.

WOLF’S TURN

Among the many many adjustments Wisconsin confronted was at quarterback after Graham Mertz, a three-year starter, entered the switch portal.

The Badgers turned to fifth-year starter Chase Wolf, who tried six passes earlier than arriving within the desert.

Wolf had some success on quick passes early and located Hayden Rucci on a 15-yard TD go within the second quarter. He additionally threw an interception in the long run zone on Wisconsin’s second drive and completed 16 of 26 for 116 yards.

“Chase played well. He controlled what he could control, he took shots and I never saw him bat an eye,” Fickell mentioned.

UP NEXT

Wisconsin: Fickell will proceed to fill out his workers and roster after shedding a number of gamers who declared for the NFL draft or went into the switch portal. Wolf shall be again and have momentum on his aspect after profitable a bowl sport.

Oklahoma State: The bowl expertise ought to assist Rangel headed into subsequent season, when he would be the frontrunner to be the beginning quarterback. A lot of the Cowboys’ ability gamers ought to be again, too.

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