Braelon Allen rushed for 116 yards and one touchdown and Luke Fickell won in his Wisconsin coaching debut as the Badgers registered a 24-17 victory over Oklahoma State on Tuesday in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl at Phoenix.
Chase Wolf completed 16 of 26 passes for 116 yards, one touchdown and one interception in his first career start for Wisconsin (7-6). Chez Mellusi rushed for a touchdown, Hayden Rucci added a scoring catch and Cedrick Dort Jr. and Jay Shaw recorded interceptions.
Fickell, who was hired away from Cincinnati late last month, allowed former interim coach Jim Leonhard to run the defense and offensive coordinator Bobby Engram to run the offense during the game at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, Fickell was involved in coaching from the sideline.
Garret Rangel connected on 14 of 31 passes for 229 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in his third career start for Oklahoma State (7-6). Stephon Johnson Jr. caught a long touchdown pass and Ollie Gordon had a short scoring grab for the Cowboys.
Both quarterbacks were starting because veteran leaders entered the transfer portal — Graham Mertz for Wisconsin and Spencer Sanders for Oklahoma State.
Wisconsin controlled the clock for 37:58 and outgained the Cowboys 374 yards to 281 to win for the eighth time in its past nine bowl games.
Allen capped a run of 21 straight Wisconsin points when he scampered 20 yards for a touchdown to give the Badgers a 24-7 lead with 6:42 left in the third quarter.
The Cowboys pulled within 24-14 early in the fourth quarter on Rangel’s 1-yard toss to Gordon on fourth-and-goal. Rangel was about to be dropped by Wisconsin’s Jordan Turner when he flipped an underhanded pass to Gordon.
Oklahoma State moved within seven on Tanner Brown’s 24-yard field goal with 5:08 remaining. The Cowboys got the ball back with 3:33 to go, but Dort picked off Rangel on the second play and Skyler Bell took a reverse 44 yards to help the Badgers run out the clock.
Wisconsin’s Nate Van Zelst kicked a 47-yard field goal with 10:19 left in the first quarter to open the scoring before Oklahoma State moved ahead four minutes later.
The Cowboys had possession on their own 16 when Rangel threw a short pass to his left that Johnson caught just behind the line of scrimmage. Johnson avoided three attempted tackles to get out of trouble and eventually finished the 84-yard touchdown on the right side.
The Badgers took a 10-7 lead when Mellusi scored from the 1 with 5:23 left in the half. Wolf tossed a 15-yard scoring pass to Rucci with 44 seconds remaining for a 17-7 halftime lead.
–Field Level Media