Badgers avoid embarrassing loss, comeback to beat Georgia State
Despite a tumultuous afternoon for the No. 9 Badgers (3-0), they snuck out of Camp Randall with a 23-17 win against the Georgia State Panthers (0-3) after falling behind by four points in the fourth.
Before the game, the Vegas spread was 35.5 points in favor of Wisconsin, and none of the nation’s football experts imagined anything but a beatdown. However, poor play by the Wisconsin defense and starting quarterback Bart Houston led to a nail-biter.
With only a 6-0 lead at halftime, and a slimmer 6-3 lead in the third quarter, the UW coaching staff pulled Houston in favor of redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook, who went a perfect 5-5 with a touchdown last week against Akron.
This decision proved to be the turning point in the game, as Hornibrook led two Wisconsin touchdown drives, giving the offense a much needed spark that saved them from national embarrassment. After captaining a drive that ended in a redshirt senior, Dare Ogunbowale touchdown, the momentum appeared to have swung in the Badgers’ favor.
But Georgia State answered right back with a score of its own, taking the lead 17-13 just as the fourth quarter began. Hornibrook came back out and led another scoring drive, finishing it with a one-yard touchdown pass to redshirt freshman tight end Kyle Penniston with just over seven minutes left.
The defense then made a final stop to preserve the victory. Nonetheless, after allowing just one touchdown this season, the Badger defense looked shaky against Georgia State, allowing 317 yards of total offense and 17 points to a team that scored 14 against a subpar Air Force squad a week prior.
Despite the drama, the Badgers still came away with an (ugly) win and improved their record to a perfect 3-0. They head out to East Lansing for a tilt against the Spartans next week, kicking off a four-game stretch where Wisconsin takes on the Big Ten’s top teams.