Just like in two of its three games this season and 12 of its last 16 games dating back to last year, Utah State football found itself in a one-score game, but came up short as the Aggies' lost 16-14 at Wisconsin Saturday night at Camp Randall Stadium.
USU had its seven-game regular-season win streak halted with the loss after a 37-yard field goal missed wide right by junior placekicker Josh Thompson with six seconds left. The Aggies' also had their three-game road game winning streak halted, in falling to 2-1 on the year. Wisconsin improved to 2-1 with the win, which also evened the all-time series between the Aggies and Badgers at 1-1 after USU's 20-0 win in 1968.
The Aggie defense limited Wisconsin to 234 total yards, while the USU offense totalled 308 total yards with sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton completing 18-of-35 passes for 181 yards while rushing for 75 yards, part of USU's 127 total yards on the ground.
Senior running back Kerwynn Williams had a career-high night receiving with six catches for 78 yards with one TD. Senior wide receiver Chuck Jacobs matched Williams with six receptions, totally 41 yards. Fellow senior wide receiver Cameron Webb added three receptions for 41 yards with 36 coming on a catch down the sideline to set the Aggies up with a 1st-and-10 at the UW 15 on its last drive of the game.
Sophomore safety Brian Suite led the Aggie defense with a career-high 13 tackles, while senior safety McKade Brady added eight stops. Junior linebacker Zach Vigil tallied seven stops, including two tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble.
Wisconsin was led by Montee Ball with 139 yards rushing on 37 carries and one TD. Danny O'Brien was 5-of-10 passing for 63 yards in the first half before getting relieved by Joel Stave who was 2-of-6 for 15 yards. Brian Wozniak led the Badgers with two catches for 24 yards. Kenzel Deo had one punt return for an 82-yard TD.
Mike Taylor led the Badger defense with a game-high 15 tackles.
Willliams started his career receiving night with the Aggies' first score on a 39-yard catch-and-run to the end zone from Keeton for a 7-0 USU lead with 9:17 to go in the first quarter. Kyle French hit a 19-yard field goal to pull the Badgers within four at 7-3 at the 14:16 mark of the second quarter.
After the Aggie defense made repeated stops, with Vigil forcing his fumble that was recovered by fellow junior linebacker Jake Doughty at the UW 33 with 2:17 left in the first half, Keeton drove the Aggies to the end zone and hit senior wide receiver Matt Austin from 11 yards out with 29 seconds left for a 14-3 USU lead at intermission.
Doe's big punt return for a score came with 7:06 to play in the third quarter to pull Wisconsin within four, 14-10, and exactly four minutes later, Ball darted in from 17 yards out but French's PAT was blocked by redshirt-freshman defensive lineman Jordan Nielsen, leaving the score 16-14 and the Aggies within the game-winning field goal attempt.
USU continues its two-game road swing at Colorado State on Saturday, Sept. 22, at 5 p.m. (MT). Utah State returns to the friendly confines of Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium to host UNLV on Saturday, Sept. 29, for USU's Homecoming.
Utah State football tickets are available by contacting the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305.
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.