Wisconsin hosts MI on Saturday in what could be another statement for the Badgers' College Football Playoff hopes.
It has been a season-long story line. At what felt like the last minute, Nelson scooped up the ball, slicing and dicing the MI special teams effort for a 50-yard score, putting up Wisconsin 7-0 and calming a tense Camp Randall crowd.
MI tied the game with 2:24 left in the second quarter. Wisconsin got the defensive challenge it expected from MI, but it proved to be the more complete team, and it got big throws in big moments down the stretch from Hornibrook to pull away and earn another convincing win.
MI (8-3, 5-3 Big Ten) closes out the regular season next Saturday at Ohio State.
A number of Badgers are enjoying terrific seasons on both sides of the ball, but Hornibrook's improvement has been the biggest difference-maker in what could be a national championship campaign.
MI and their fans may hate Ohio State, but for now, they are cool with the Badgers. He broke three tackles on that score that gave Wisconsin a 7-0 lead with 1:15 left in the first quarter. Hornibrook suddenly caught fire after the turnover, connecting with A.J. Taylor for 51 yards on a third-and-13, then firing a 24-yard touchdown to Taylor on third-and-16.
After taking that 10-7 lead, MI managed a total of 39 yards on its final four possessions.
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Rookie tight end David Njoku respected the smack talk and was looking forward to the on-field dialogue. "I love the smack talk. But I'm here and I have a job to do and it's to go out here and win ballgames and lead this team the best way I can lead it".
What's known as the "Brett Bell game" ended with a punt hitting the Badgers' defensive back, who was covering it at the time, and kicker Hayden Epstein sneaking a kick between the uprights. MI junior RB Karan Higdon carried seven times for 20 yards.
It got worse on Michigan's following drive, as Peters was driven hard to the turf on a third down incomplete pass. Michigan's starter remained on the ground, motionless, for several moments before eventually sitting up.
Jonathan Taylor finished with 132 yards on 19 carries, with 87 yards in the second half. MI got more bad news on its next drive when Peters was injured on a late hit and replaced by John O'Korn for the rest of the game.
Little did they know, MI would also be playing against the referees. "Yeah, we got beat on a few stunts". Peters shook off the goal line fumble with an impressive touchdown drive midway through the second and showed off some downfield throwing ability that we haven't seen much this season.
Harbaugh said only that Peters was getting tests after getting "shaken up".
The Wolverines weren't discouraged and drove 84 yards on their next drive to tie the game on a Ben Mason touchdown run heading into the half.
"I just figure out what went wrong, figure out how to fix it and not even think about it anymore", Hornibrook said.
Wisconsin: Travels to Minnesota on November 25 in the rivalry game for Paul Bunyan's Axe.