Melvin Gordon

Melvin Gordon

The Wisconsin Badgers put their 59-0 Big Ten title game loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes behind them.  They knocked off the Auburn Tigers 34-31 in overtime in the Outback Bowl.

The Badgers captured their first bowl game victory since 2009 and Barry Alvarez returned to the sidelines to earn his 9th (9-4) bowl victory.

Melvin Gordon ran for an Outback Bowl-record 251 yards and three touchdowns and freshman kicker Rafael Gaglianone kicked a 25-yard field goal in overtime to give the 18th-ranked Badgers the victory.

Gordon ran for touchdowns of 25, 53 and 6 yards and finished with 2,587 rushing yards on the season, 41 shy of Barry Sanders’ single-season FBS rushing record.  Gordon was named the Outback Bowl MVP.

Joel Stave gave the Badgers the early 7-0 lead, tossing a 7-yard touchdown pass to Corey Clement.

The Badgers wouldn’t score again until the first possession of the second half, pulling even at 14-14.  Gordon’s 27-yard rushing touchdown capped off a 6-play, 75-yard drive.

Stave completed 14 of 27 for 121 yards.  But he was picked off three times, all in the first half.  It forced the Badgers to keep the ball on he ground in the second half, which turned out to be the difference maker.

Both teams struggled to get defensive stops in the second half.  Nick Marshall finished with a pair of touchdown passes and Cameron Artis-Payne rushed for two scores for the Tigers (8-5).

Following Gaglianone’s field goal in overtime, Auburn would get a chance to tie or win the game.  But the Badgers defense came up with a stop and Daniel Carlson’s 45-yard field goal attempt to tie the game bounced off the right upright, making a winner of the Badgers.

With Wisconsin’s seniors in search of their first bowl victory, interim coach Barry Alvarez was pulling out all the stops.  Three times he went for it on fourth down and the Badgers converted all three times.

Alvarez now turns over the coaching reigns to Paul Chryst, who was hired to replace the departed Gary Andersen.  Chryst was a spectator for the Outback Bowl game in Tampa today and has watched as Barry Alvarez spent the last few weeks getting the Badgers ready for this game.

Postgame Notes

— The Badgers now lead the all-time series against Auburn 2-1-1 and have two straight wins over Auburn in Bowl games
— The Badgers ran for an Outback Bowl and UW bowl game record 400 yards
— Wisconsin improved to 6-4 all-time in overtime games.  Their last OT win came in 2009 against Fresno State in 2 OT’s
— The overtime victory marked the Badgers’ second overtime win in a bowl game, as the Badgers also won the 2002 Alamo Bowl, 31-28, in OT
— Wisconsin won a bowl game for the first time since a 20-14 win over Miami in the 2009 Champs Sports Bowl.  The Badgers are now 12-14
in Bowl Games
— Melvin Gordon finished his career averaging 7.79 yards per carry.  That crushed the FBS career mark of 7.32, held by Reggie Bush of USC
— Gordon’s 251 yards on the ground were the most by a Wisconsin running back in a bowl game, surpassing Ron Dayne’s record of 246 yards.
— Today marks Gordon’s sixth 200-yard game of the season and seventh of his career, breaking the school record of five by Ron Dayne in
1996 and 1999.
— Junior QB Joel Stave now has 37 career touchdown passes.  That puts him one back of Randy Wright and Brooks Bollinger for third-place
on UW’s career list.
— Freshman K Rafael Gaglianone’s game winning 25-yard field goal in overtime is his first official game winner at Wisconsin.

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