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We’ve reached halftime of this Shamrock Series game, and we still don’t have a clear direction of where this is going. There have been some plays that had potential to turn the tide, but they mostly haven’t meant much. We say “mostly” because Notre Dame has been able to separate itself from Wisconsin a bit as it holds a 10-3 lead.
The Irish began the second quarter with a long possession, converting on two third downs and one fourth down, the latter of which came on a Kyren Williams run against a tough Badgers run defense. That defense came alive once the Irish reached the Badgers’ 30-yard line as Jack Coan found him swarmed by Badgers on every play during that series of downs. Faced with a fourth-and-14 after a C.J. Goetz sack, Jonathan Doerer came on to attempt a 51-yard field goal after missing from 39 in the first quarter. This time, he converted to tie the game.
The Badgers nearly went three-and-out on their first possession of the quarter but for a roughing-the-passer call against Kyle Hamilton of all people. It turned out not to matter because on the next third down, Cam Hart came up with an interception near midfield. Coan nearly gave the ball right back two plays later on a Leo Chanel interception. That turnover was wiped out when Noah Burks was called for pass interference, allowing the Irish to keep the ball.
The negated turnover ended up costing the Badgers more than only the ball. The drive culminated in the game’s first touchdown as Coan found Kevin Austin for a 36-yard completion. There was a review to determine whether Austin maintained control of the ball as he fell in the end zone, but it didn’t take long to confirm the ruling.
Both teams went three-and-out on their next drives, but it led to a big play on special teams for the Irish. Jay Bramblett punted the ball a career-high 72 yards to pin the Badgers at their own 9. That, in turn, led to the Badgers failing to pick up a first down and punting once again. Having the lead and with little time remaining, Coan opted to take a knee, and that’s all she wrote for the first 30 minutes.