Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 9/16/12

It took a surprising punt return, switch at quarterback and a wide-right missed field goal for the Wisconsin Badgers to hold off the Utah State Aggies by the score of 16-14.

Punt returner Kenzel Doe was the hero of the night as his 82-yard punt return for a touchdown changed the momentum and ultimately led to the Badgers (2-1) victory over the Aggies (2-1) in front of 79,332 people under the lights at Camp Randall.


What It Means: A lot had to happen for the Badgers to avoid an upset of even bigger proportions than their trip to Oregon State. At the end of the second quarter, the offense was out of sync and the fans went as far as booing the entire team as they left the field.

In tune with Bret Bielema’s decision to can the offensive line coach Mike Markuson after just two games, he pulled struggling quarterback Danny O’Brien after two-and-a-half. He said following the game, “for us to win at Wisconsin, we can’t turn over the ball.” O’Brien threw an interception that was nullified and fumbled the ball in the first half.

To all of the players’ surprise, redshirt freshman Joel Stave came out to lead the inept offense in the second half. He didn’t fare much better, but didn’t turn the ball over and started what seems to be a quarterback controversy.

Give the Badgers defense credit where credit is due as they made the Aggies’ offense look just as bad as the Badgers in a back-and-forth affair being influenced by each team’s punter. Fitting that the win would come down to special teams with Utah State’s true freshman kicker Josh Thompson missing a 37 yard field goal.

Mont-AY Heisman Watch: Montee Ball received the amount of carries a Heisman candidate should get, but didn’t come through with the production that goes along with the designation. His 37 carries resulted in 139 yards, a 3.8 average that is far from desirable. Ball added a touchdown to give him two on the year, a mark he was putting up in each and every game last season. You get the sense that Ball is falling off the list for college football’s most prestigious award.

Player of the Game: WR Kenzel Doe (O catches and a 82 yard punt  return or a touchdown)

Prior to the game, not even Doe himself would have told you his impact would be made with zero catches. But, he did let teammate Jarred Abbrederis (out with a chest injury) know before the game that he was taking a punt return to the house. And that’s exactly what he did in the third quarter, igniting the crowd at Camp Randall in the process.

Highlight of the Game: Beating out the squirrel who ran across the field during the initial kick-off is Doe and his punt return that almost didn’t happen. In fact, the personnel on the field was a defensive one that usually results in a fair catch. Doe decided there was room on the sidelines and took off and made an unbelievable adjustment at the opponents 40 yard line which resulted in him taking it to the house.

Stat of the Game (9): The number of times linebacker Mike Taylor has recorded double-digit tackle totals. Taylor was all over the field while recording 15 tackles. His career total stretched to 290, putting him 20th all-time in UW history.

What’s Next: The UTEP Miners (1-2) will make their first appearance at Camp Randall fresh off a 41-28 win over New Mexico State. In their two losses, they played BCS-foes Oklahoma (24-7 result) and Ole Miss (28-10). Wisconsin will be looking to extend their consecutive non-conference home-winning streak to 26 games.

What did you think of the Badgers close call with the Aggies? Let me know by commenting below.

Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice and pretend to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best. If social media is not your thing, shoot him an email at grays@uwalumni.com.

Pictures:

Overhead Shot of Camp Randall (Wisconsin Badgers Official Facebook Page)

Montee Ball (madison.com)

 

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