Workin’ overtime: Wisconsin edges Cal Poly
View Gallery (2 Photos)Philip Welch may not be used to celebrating extra points, but his overtime PAT Saturday gave the Badgers plenty of reason to cheer.Welch’s kick wasn’t very long, but it was enough to give Wisconsin a 36-35 overtime win over Cal Poly.It was extra points that got UW into that situation to begin with. Mustang kicker Andrew Gardner missed three extra points Saturday, the last one after Cal Poly scored first in overtime, as the Badgers launched a comeback victory.“The way the season has gone, we’ve been emphasizing the finish, the finish, the finish,” head coach Bret Bielema said. “And you can’t get more of a finish than an overtime win.”Gardner’s second missed attempt kept the Mustang lead at eight points after a touchdown with 7:55 left in the game.Down the entire game, Wisconsin found itself still trailing by eight points when it got the ball with four minutes to play at its own 11-yard line after the defense forced a critical three-and-out from Cal Poly.Quarterback Dustin Sherer scrambled for a 22-yard gain and running back John Clay ran for a 27-yard gain on third-and-one to set up a Badger first-and-goal at the Mustang 3-yard line with under two minutes to play.“He was able to make plays when it was time to make plays,” running back P.J. Hill said of Sherer’s scramble. “It was a real crucial situation, and he made something out of it.”Hill rushed for a touchdown on first down, cutting the lead to two points. Wisconsin called the same play on the critical two-point conversion and Hill scored to tie the game at 29.“We’ve got big bodies, and we wanted to lean on them,” Bielema said of the play call.“I think it took Paul Chryst about .5 seconds to call that two-point conversion play because he knew what was there and what was going to be there.”After Jake West missed his 46-yard field goal attempt with eight seconds left in the game, the two teams headed to overtime.Things didn’t start well in the extra period. Cal Poly scored on the first play of overtime when quarterback Jonathan Dally connected on a 25-yard touchdown pass to Ramses Barden.For the third time in the game, however, Gardner’s kick went too far to the right, and when the kick hit the upright the Badgers knew they had a chance to steal a victory.After Clay scored on a 6-yard run three plays later, it was all up to Welch to win the game.“Hoping not to miss it,” Welch said, “because I probably would have been killed or something.”And after the freshman converted his kick, all that was left to do was celebrate.“I was just trying to hit it, like any other kick,” Welch said. “PAT’s — you’re supposed to make every one.”For four quarters, the Mustangs gave the Badgers a scare.Cal Poly controlled the ball for nearly twice as long as Wisconsin and finished the game with 276 rushing yards.“They did a good job executing,” linebacker Culmer St. Jean said. “They did a good job mixing up the plays and keeping us on our toes.”The Mustangs also converted on nine-of-17 third-down attempts.“Cal Poly’s got a good offense and they run the ball the majority of the time. … It was something we’ve never seen before,” defensive lineman Mike Newkirk said.Dally’s 2-yard run with just under five minutes left in the first half put Cal Poly up 20-7. UW was able to cut the deficit, however, when wide receiver Nick Toon caught his first career touchdown pass with 28 seconds left in the half.A Gardner field goal extended the lead in the third quarter, but Hill scored on a 10-yard run to cut the lead to two points late in the third quarter.With Cal Poly about to attempt a field goal on its next possession, however, UW got called for a penalty, allowing the Mustangs to convert a fourth down that led to James Noble’s touchdown that put the score at 29-21.It was the second straight week the Badgers had to muster a come-from-behind win. Last weekend Wisconsin erased a 21-7 halftime deficit in its win over Minnesota.Though Cal Poly is a Football Championship Division team, the Mustangs entered the game with an 8-1 record on the season.With the win, Wisconsin finishes the regular season with a 7-5 record.