Rapid Reaction: Wisconsin 21, Northwestern 7


Zack Laurence/The Daily Northwestern

Jazz Peavy reaches out for the ball. The Wisconsin receiver sparked the Badgers’ offense early with a 46-yard end-around score.

Bobby Pillote, Assistant Gameday Editor

Wisconsin and Northwestern fought another close battle, with the No. 8 Badgers (7-2, 4-2 Big Ten) ultimately pulling away late and prevailing, 21-7, over the Wildcats (4-5, 3-3).

Both offenses ground through the low-scoring affair, with each side struggling to produce big-play opportunities. A 46-yard end-around score by Wisconsin receiver Jazz Peavy in the second quarter proved to be the longest play of the day.

Badgers’ lead back Corey Clement wore down the Cats’ defense with 32 carries but gained just 3.3 yards per attempt. Wisconsin made the most of its limited scoring opportunities and relied on its excellent defense to do the rest.

As he has been for much of the season, receiver Austin Carr was the lone spark for the NU offense. The senior continued his breakout campaign with 12 catches for 132 yards and a score, putting him at four consecutive games with at least 100 yards receiving and a touchdown.

Sophomore quarterback Clayton Thorson struggled to find his other targets, finishing 28-of-52 for 265 yards and a touchdown pass. Junior running back Justin Jackson was likewise bottled up all day, carrying just 12 times for 42 yards.

1. NU is out of the race for the Big Ten West. The Cats had a chance if they beat the Badgers, but are now all but out of contention with three conference losses, including two to West rivals Wisconsin and Nebraska.
2. A bowl game is still likely. NU gets to finish up the season against Purdue, Minnesota and Illinois, a soft slate that should see the Cats get to at least six, if not seven, wins. It won’t be as glamorous as the Outback Bowl, but NU should still be back in the postseason.
3. Austin Carr is the best receiver in the conference. It bears repeating every week. Even though opposing defenses have presumably figured out Carr is good, nobody has yet managed to slow down the Big Ten’s leader in receptions, yards and touchdowns.

• Carr surpassed 1000 yards receiving this season, becoming the first Cat to do so since Jeremy Ebert in 2011.
• Wisconsin converted 7 of 19 third down attempts, running 79 total plays and holding the ball for over 40 minutes.
• Junior punter Hunter Niswander kicked eight times, tying his season high.
• The typically ball-hawking NU defense, famous this season for predicting interceptions on social media, failed to produce a single turnover.