After an upset loss at home that dropped Wisconsin out of the rankings, the Badgers will look to regroup when they host New Mexico State on Saturday at Camp Randall in Madison, Wis., in their final nonconference game before heading into the Big Ten season.
Wisconsin (1-1), ranked No. 19 last week, failed to score in the second half and dropped a 17-14 decision to Washington State this past weekend. New Mexico State (0-3) is coming off a 20-13 loss at rival UTEP.
The Badgers outgained Washington State by almost 150 yards and had a 16-minute advantage in time of possession, but had three turnovers, two missed field goals and 11 penalties for 106 yards.
“I do believe they’re correctable,” Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst said. “The last drive, we jump offsides, that’s something you’ve got to correct. I’m not saying it won’t ever happen again, but that’s correctable. I think you’ve then got to continue to look at what’s causing those things.”
Braelon Allen, who rushed for 148 yards in an opening 38-0 win over Illinois State, ran for 98 yards on 21 carries, but was kept out of the end zone. He’s rushed for 246 yards this season, which is fourth in the Big Ten.
Graham Mertz completed 18 of 31 passes for 227 yards with two touchdowns and one interception against Washington State. Both scoring passes went to tight end Clay Cundiff in the second quarter to erase a 7-0 deficit.
New Mexico State has already faced one Big Ten opponent this season, losing to Minnesota 38-0 in its second game.
After trailing 17-0 at the half against UTEP, the Aggies were driving for the tying touchdown when quarterback Diego Pavia lost a fumble at the UTEP 14-yard line with three seconds remaining.
“There were spurts in the game that we had opportunities,” first-year New Mexico State head coach Jerry Kill said. “There was probably left about 14 to 17 points out there. But what we want to be and who we want to be really showed up more in the second half.”
Pavia, who came on in the second quarter against UTEP, is the team’s leading rusher with 119 yards on 23 carries. Pavia has completed 18 of 45 passes for 185 yards with three interceptions. Gavin Frakes is 12-for-25 for 197 yards with three picks and the lone passing touchdown.
Kill is familiar with Wisconsin from his five seasons as head coach at Minnesota from 2011-15 but went 0-4 against the Badgers during his time in the Big Ten.
–Field Level Media