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Badgers, Allen leave bitter taste for Blackshirts — '252 yards rushing is not something that we're OK with'

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Nebraska vs. Wisconsin, 11.20

Wisconsin's Braelon Allen (0) gets tackled by Nebraska's Isaac Gifford (23) in the third quarter Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis.

MADISON, Wis. — In a tie ballgame, and its Big Ten West title hopes in a tight spot, Wisconsin turned to a 17-year-old freshman to ease the tension.

Braelon Allen opened the drive with a 7-yard burst. He picked 4 yards on the next play, 4 after that and another 7 yards.

And then the big shot.

The Badger running back ran to his right, charged forward and broke free into the open. Only Husker safety Myles Farmer had a shot at him at the NU 30-yard line and it didn't go well. Fifty-three yards later, Allen was in the end zone and Wisconsin was back in control of an eventual 35-28 victory Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium.

"He’s a big body," NU defensive lineman Casey Rogers said of the bruising 6-foot-2, 238-pound back. "He can hit the hole hard. He’s not deciding on which way he’s going, he knows he’s going straight down at you."

The Blackshirts have held their own against some talented running backs this season. They shut down Michigan State's Kenneth Walker, and he's a Heisman Trophy candidate. They made Ohio State's TreVeyon Henderson, maybe a future Heisman candidate, work a lot for his 92 yards two weeks ago.

But Allen was a different beast.

"He’s a big kid," Husker freshman Isaac Gifford said. "We got to wrap up on him. We got to get the whole crew on him, get him down."

Allen scored three times, including a 71-yard touchdown run on a third-and-1 play where once he got past the line of scrimmage, he was gone. The freshman has now rushed for 100 yards or more in seven straight games.

He's a good back, obviously, NU senior defensive lineman Ben Stille said, but it also goes back to what Wisconsin does best.

"Their scheme is really, really good," Stille said. "I can’t emphasize that enough. Their scheme is tough. We don’t see that scheme a lot, so it’s tough for us to get prepared for that. Obviously, we’ve got to improve, we’re getting the same look next week (against Iowa).

"Their whole offense is predicated on you not being in your gap, guys being out of their gap, miss-fitting. It’s the scheme they run and it’s a really good scheme."

Nebraska gave up a season-high 252 rushing yards to the Badgers, who averaged 8.1 yards per attempt, a number that was inflated by Allen's two big runs.

Coming into Saturday, NU had allowed just three running plays of 31 yards or more. Allen busted loose for two against a banged-up Husker defense that was without Deontai Williams, JoJo Domann and Damion Daniels, who left in the first half.

"We’ve seen better days," Rogers said. "They did run the ball a lot on us. A lot of that was poor tackling and minor mistakes that turned into huge mistakes, to be honest with you. It’s all fixable stuff, which is a good thing … 252 yards rushing is not something that we’re OK with."

Nebraska's defense made a big fourth-down stop in the second half, which set up a game-tying touchdown. But NU, like many times this season, was never able to get a game-turning turnover.

Wisconsin was spotless on the stat sheet in that category.

"The last couple of drives, we needed to get the ball on the ground, we needed to get a pick or something to get the ball in the hands of our quarterback and our offense," Roger said. "It was frustrating because we couldn’t do it."

 

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