Badgers waste chances, fall to Washington State at home

MADISON, Wis. — The Badgers dominated in every statistic except the one that counts, and it cost them the game as they lost to Washington State, 17-14.

Quarterback Graham Mertz had a strong game, passing for 227 yards, but a late-game interception all but sealed the win for the Cougars. He relied heavily on short-yardage plays, with his go-to target Chimere Dike averaging 7.8 yards over four catches. Mertz was able to find Clay Cundiff twice for two touchdowns.

The Badgers leaned on the rushing attack to gain ground once again, with Braelon Allen grabbing 98 yards on 21 carries. Chez Mellusi and Issac Guerendo combined for 58 yards, but no Badger backs found the endzone.

The Badgers converted more third downs, got more first downs, held the ball longer, and punted less than Washington State, but none of that mattered as the Cougars were able to do just enough to scrape by.

Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward threw for 200 yards and a touchdown while running back Nakia Watson averaged 3.4 yards on 10 carries. Watson, unlike the Badger backs, was able to find paydirt. In the end, it was Dean Janikowski’s 26-yard field goal that proved to be the difference maker.

The Badgers will be back at Camp Randall Stadium next week to host the New Mexico State Aggies, then it’s off to Columbus on September 24 to kick off Big Ten play against Ohio State.