Utah State's Josh Thompson missed a 37-yard field goal with seconds remaining, allowing Wisconsin to hold on for a 16-14 victory Saturday night.
Thompson missed the kick wide right, preserving a win for the Badgers (2-1).
Trailing 14-3 at halftime, the Badgers got an 82-yard punt return from Kenzel Doe to begin their comeback. Montee Ball shook off a rough night to score the go-ahead touchdown on a 17-yard run late in the third quarter.
Ball carried 37 times for 139 yards and the decisive score despite getting stuffed behind an offensive line that has struggled to open holes for him in the first three games of the season.
Utah State (2-1) built its first-half lead on a pair of touchdown passes from Chuckie Keeton, who was 18 of 34 for 181 yards.
Wisconsin was coming off a loss at Oregon State that led to an abrupt coaching staff shake-up.