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Highs and Lows: Wisconsin

There were plenty of highs for Penn State in its season-ending upset win over Wisconsin in Madison. Get the rundown here.

Eugene Lewis caught two touchdown passes on Saturday.

GAME BALL (OFFENSE) - Christian Hackenberg - Penn State

Penn State's superb freshman went into Camp Randall Stadium and didn't back down from what is typically one of the toughest places to play in the Big Ten. He came out on fire, completing his first eight passes on his way to a day where he completed 21 of 30 passes for 339 yards and four touchdowns.

GAME BALL (DEFENSE) - Penn State's Front Four

Penn State's defensive line put forth an effort that was unmatched prior to Saturday, dialing up pressure on Joel Stave and limiting the Badgers to 120 yards on the ground. Anthony Zettel, C.J. Olaniyan, Deion Barnes, DaQuan Jones, Kyle Baublitz, Austin Johnson, Brian Gaia and Carl Nassib all had a hand in a standout performance from Larry Johnson's Rushmen. Baublitz finished with four tackles and a sack, Zettel got two sacks and CJ Olaniyan finished with three tackles, three quarterback hurries and an interception.

PLAY OF THE GAME - Penn State went big on a third down early in the fourth quarter, as Christian Hackenberg hung in the pocket and delivered an absolute beauty to Geno Lewis, who got behind the defense for a 59-yard score to put the Nittany Lions up 31-14.

BEST PASS - Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave somehow fit a second quarter pass down the middle into a tiny window to tight end Jacob Pederson. The play went for 23 yards on a 3rd and 16 and the Badgers scored two plays later.

WORST PASS - Joel Stave was at times on point, and others, like when he overthrew a wide open Jared Abbrederis early in the fourth quarter, he wasn't even close. The ball sailed off the fingertips of Abbrederis and into the waiting arms of Trevor Williams, who hauled in his second pick of the season.

BEST RUN - The Badgers kept Zach Zwinak and Penn State bottled up on the ground all day, but the Nittany Lions caught Wisconsin off guard on a third down draw play late in the fourth quarter and Zwinak parted the Red Sea for a 61-yard gain that essentially clinched the game for the Nittany Lions.

BEST CATCH - It's still tough to say how Jesse James came down with a third quarter touchdown catch over Wisconsin cornerback Dezmen Southward, but he did, putting the Nittany Lions up by a score.

WORST DROP - Wisconsin had a shot to get into field goal range midway through the fourth quarter, but Badgers wideout Jeff Duckworth flat out dropped a Joel Stave offering in the flat.

BEST CATCH AND RUN - For the second time in two weeks, a Penn State tight end got loose on a long catch and run as Adam Breneman broke a tackle and raced 68 yards for the Nittany Lions' first touchdown in the first quarter.

WORST FUMBLE - Wisconsin had just started to move the ball in the second half, and a fumbled snap squirted through the hands of Joel Stave and was covered up by James White for a big loss. The Badgers had to punt two plays later.

BEST KICK - Wisconsin got a big kick when they needed it most, as Badgers kicker Jack Russell snuck a 48-yarder over the crossbar to cut the lead to 7 with 4:13 remaining in the game.

WORST KICK - Sam Ficken's string of struggles continued as the Nittany Lions kicker had a first quarter attempt blocked by a Wisconsin line that didn't get much penetration at all. The kick would have put Penn State up 10-0.

BEST TACKLE - Penn State's kickoff coverage team, who had been victimized with touchdown returns each of the last two weeks, came up with solid coverage all day. Freshman run-on Von Walker was in on a few, including a solo job in the third quarter.

WORST TACKLE - Penn State cornerback Jordan Lucas had Melvin Gordon in his sights for a loss late in the first quarter, but a spin move made Lucas look foolish and Gordon got away for a big gain.

BEST HIT - Glenn Carson came free and blasted Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave just after the Wisconsin passer got rid of the ball downfield in the second quarter. Stave missed a wide open Jared Abbrederis because of it.

BEST SACK - Penn State defensive tackle Kyle Baublitz, playing in his final game, got to Joel Stave for a loss of six on a play that was originally ruled a completed pass. Replays showed that Stave's knee clearly hit the ground before delivering.

BEST SACK 2 - The Nittany Lions' front four were active all day getting to Joel Stave, and on 4th-and-23 in the fourth quarter Penn State dialed it up again, dropping Stave for a big drive-killing sack.

BEST PICK - Call it a sack, call it a fumble, whatever it was, C.J. Olaniyan caught it before it hit the ground and raced 33 yards the other way after Brandon Bell knocked it loose from Joel Stave in the third quarter. Penn State turned it into three points a few plays later.

BEST PICK 2 - Ryan Keiser came down with what was his second game-sealing interception of the season with just a second remaining in the game. The Badgers attempted a hail mary on the play and Keiser hauled in the last-ditch effort over a few teammates.

BEST CALL - Penn State almost sold out to stop the Badgers' vaunted rushing attack and tried to make Joel Stave beat them through the air. The redshirt sophomore wasn't up to the task. Wisconsin still up with just 120 yards on the ground - 163 yards per game below its season average - and didn't break the big one and change the game.

WORST CALL - With Penn State nearing the goal line late in the first half, Wisconsin left Eugene Lewis completely uncovered. A pitch and catch from Christian Hackenberg resulted in a game-tying touchdown. Sure, it was unintentional on the part of the Badgers, but someone has got to see that besides head coach Gary Andersen, who couldn't get a timeout despite racing down the sideline like a madman.

HEADS UP AWARD - Penn State veteran special-teamer Jesse Della Valle made a fantastic play on a fourth-quarter onside kick and picked the ball off the turf to secure possession for the Nittany Lions with just over five minutes remaining in the game.


Penn State had been prone to turnovers this season, but it was the Badgers who gave it away at home on Saturday. The Nittany Lions picked Joel Stave off three times and did not give it away at all in the win.

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