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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Fumagalli's clutch play sparks UW comeback

With 4:52 left in the second quarter, the Utah State Aggies took a timeout. Up 10-0 over the No. 9 team in the country, USU didn’t want to let UW back into the game.

The timeout, taken right before the Badgers were flagged for a false start that resulted in a third-and-12 situation, would help keep enough time on the clock for the Aggies to possibly march down the field and pad their 10-point lead.

All they needed was a stop on third down, but senior tight end Troy Fumagalli had other plans.

An incomplete pass would’ve left the Badgers facing a fourth down outside of field goal range at the Utah State 49. Instead, Fumagalli and redshirt sophomore quarterback Alex Hornibrook hooked up for a 15-yard completion, enough—and then some—to keep the drive alive.

That drive, specifically the catch, was the defibrillator UW desperately needed. Following the senior’s first down, UW moved the ball just outside the goal line, and that’s where sophomore running back Bradrick Shaw ran it in for Wisconsin’s first touchdown of the game.

The 79 yards the Badgers amassed during their possession could’ve been much less were it without Fumagalli’s 15-yard snag.

Wisconsin went on to intercept Utah State following its touchdown, and UW tied the game with a field goal to end the half. After that, the contest became what many thought it would be: a blowout.

It was Fumagalli in the first drive after halftime that gave the Badgers a 17-10 lead with his 23-yard touchdown catch. That was the first seven of 49 unanswered points UW hung on the Aggies in the second half.

The tight end wasn’t done for the night though. His 44-yard reception in the beginning of the fourth quarter took Wisconsin from their own 35 to Utah State’s 21. From there, it only took a handful of plays before senior fullback Austin Ramesh crossed into the endzone to put UW up 45-10.

Looking at the boxscore, Fumagalli’s line doesn’t tell the tale.

He led the team with only five receptions, but they came at opportune times. Without his 15-yard reception to get the Badgers’ scoring machine in motion, who says the game would have turned out as well it did for UW?

He led the team with 105 receiving yards. He tied for the team lead with a receiving touchdown. Yet it’s receptions like the 15-yarder and the 44-yarder that proved integral. Those touchdowns are just as much his as they are his teammates’.

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The boxscore will tell you the Badgers blew out the Utah State Aggies, but it was Troy Fumagalli’s play that led them there.

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