Badger MVP: Ogunbowale comes up big for UW in overtime

Dare Ogunbowale is embraced by George Rushing after scoring the game-winning touchdown in overtime. 

Image By: Jessi Schoville

Thanks to a standout performance by Dare Ogunbowale, the Badgers took down Nebraska 23-17 in overtime at Camp Randall last Saturday. In the last couple of weeks, the Badgers have kept games against top-10 opponents close, but have not been able to close out the game in crunch time. However, the fifth-year senior running back made sure that this narrative would not persist.

Ogunbowale rushed for a game-high 120 yards on only 11 carries last Saturday. Nebraska appeared to make stopping senior running back Corey Clement their top priority, but Wisconsin ultimately still rushed for 223 yards. With Clement being held somewhat in check, Ogunbowale emerged as Wisconsin’s leading rusher and took over the game.

In 2015, Ogunbowale totaled 10 or more carries in 11-of-13 games. This year, though, has been an entirely different story, as he has only collected double-digit carries only once prior to Saturday’s game. As Clement struggled to gain sufficient yardage, head coach Paul Chryst made sure to get his senior captain the football.

Not only was Ogunbowale consistent throughout the game, but the he made several big plays to create momentum and put points on the board for the Badgers. Specifically, in a crucial stretch during the second quarter, Ogunbowale had a critical run on a third-and-10 where he broke out for 14 yards to propel Wisconsin into Nebraska territory. He also had some big runs on the opening drive of the third quarter that saw senior wide receiver Rob Wheelwright put the Badgers up by 10 points.

Still, Ogunbowale’s biggest play of the game came in overtime. His ability to create space allowed him to make a defender miss, and he walked into the end zone to give the Badgers the game-winning touchdown.

Ogunbowale’s breakout game represents the improvement of the Badgers’ running game over the last three weeks. Take out Ogunbowale’s production, and Wisconsin only gained 103 yards on 27 carries.

Nebraska’s defense played well throughout the duration of that game, but Ogunbowale ultimately proved too much to handle.

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