Graham Mertz accounted for 3 touchdowns and Wisconsin turned 4 second-half interceptions into 21 factors to beat Wake Forest 42-28 within the Duke’s Mayo Bowl on Wednesday.
Mertz, a redshirt freshman, threw for 130 yards and ran for 2 quick touchdowns as Wisconsin (4-3) completed a rocky season on a excessive notice.
“I am actually pleased with this group and what they’ve needed to endure and the way they did it collectively,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst mentioned.
With the sport tied at 21 late within the third quarter, Noah Burks intercepted Wake Forest’s Sam Hartman on a go within the flat when the supposed receiver failed to show his head round. Burks returned the ball 41 yards to arrange a 14-yard scoring strike from Mertz to Mason Stokke on a wheel route, giving the Badgers their first lead.
Hartman, who had thrown just one interception all season, was picked off on the following three possessions as effectively.
Scott Nelson had a 60-yard interception return and Collin Wilder returned a decide 72 yards to arrange quick TD runs that gave the Badgers a 42-21 lead, leading to Hartman getting benched. Jack Sanborn had 11 tackles and an interception and was named MVP of the sport.
“We have been dealing with lots of adversity this yr. … and to complete this factor out with this group, it means the world,” Sanborn mentioned.
Hartman completed 20 of 37 passing for 318 yards with three touchdowns and 4 interceptions.
“Unexpectedly the dam opened the floodgates and wow, I by no means thought we’d lose a sport like that,” Wake Forest coach Dave Clausen mentioned.
Clausen mentioned he felt Hartman was telegraphing his passes.
“I feel he held on to targets too lengthy and Wisconsin broke on his eyes and his arm actions,” Clausen mentioned.
Wake Forest (4-5) outgained Wisconsin 518-266 on offense, however the Badgers had 176 return yards off interceptions.
Hartman threw three landing passes to Jacquarii Roberson to provide the Demon Deacons a 21-14 lead early within the third quarter towards the nation’s No. 1-ranked protection.
The sport was performed in entrance of no followers aside from household and mates because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Wake Forest: Hartman appeared to implode after enjoying a very nice first half. The redshirt sophomore ought to be taught from his tough day towards the Badgers.
Wisconsin: Mertz seems to have solidified his position because the staff’s beginning quarterback shifting ahead. He had struggled down the stretch with 5 interceptions and one landing in his earlier 4 video games. However it’s been laborious to completely consider his play since he is been lacking his two high wideouts, Danny Davis and Kendric Pryor.
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons are slated to open their 2021 season with a Sept. 4 house sport towards Previous Dominion.
Wisconsin: The Badgers might want to add some weapons for Mertz heading into subsequent season. They open at house towards Large Ten foe Penn State on Sept. 4.