Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin: Third-Quarter Analysis

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Just when it looked like Notre Dame might take control of the game, Wisconsin has come out in the second half looking like a different team. While they haven’t lost control of it, the outcome is a lot more uncertain. We have a 10-10 tie after three quarters.

The Irish’s offense gain no yardage on its first two drives, but something more serious might have happened instead. Jack Coan was sacked on one play and something appeared to happen to his knee. It was serious enough that he went to the locker room, forcing Drew Pyne into action. More on that in a moment.

On the first play of the Badgers’ second possession, Graham Mertz hit Chez Mellusi for a 35-yard completion. He then found Kendric Pryor on two of the next three plays, the latter of which was an 8-yard touchdown pass, Mertz’s first of the season. Hey, it took him long enough.

Pyne had a decent first drive, getting the offense from its own 16-yard line to the Wisconsin 39. That was as far as it got, though it set up Jay Bramblett to punt the ball 37 yards to 7. The Badgers went three-and-out, and a 10-yard punt return by Kyren Williams allowed the Irish to start in Badgers territory. But any hope for a successful drive was immediately dashed when Rodas Johnson forced the ball from Pyne’s hand on the first play and Jack Sanborn recovered to give the Badgers excellent field position.

With basically the equivalent of a big offensive play having just taken place, the Badgers made the most of the opportunity. By the end of the quarter, they had reached the Irish’s 10, though they were moved back to the 11 on a loss. Things are looking grim right now. Let’s hope that changes.