EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) -- Northwestern's Noah Herron wrapped his
arms around the ball, hunched over and waited.
When he finally looked up, the defenders were gone, the end zone
was in sight and so was an upset over No. 20 Wisconsin.
The Wildcats (4-4, 2-2 Big Ten) beat the Badgers 16-7 on
Saturday and got 104 yards rushing from Herron, who keyed a fake
field goal on fourth-and-6 with Northwestern up 9-7.
The trick play was the biggest of the game, and it surprised
everyone except for Herron and the Wildcats.
"We ran it a few times in my career. It's probably out the
window now. You can only dust it off every few years," coach Randy
Walker said of the fake. "It's a heck of a play."
Eric Batis took the snap, slipped the ball between the legs of
Herron and ran left with a group of blockers to draw the defense.
Herron stood still for a couple of counts, then took off with the
ball to the right for a 20-yard gain and a first down to the 3.
Jason Wright scored two plays later to give Northwestern a 16-7
lead in the third quarter, silencing a large and noisy traveling
Herron, picked to run the play because of his long arms, said
the two seconds he had to wait seemed like an eternity.
"I wanted to get up and look around, but I have to keep my head
down," Herron said.
It was the second time in Walker's coaching career that he has
used the trick play to knock off a ranked opponent. Walker was at
Miami of Ohio in 1997 when he called the play in a victory over No.
14 Virginia Tech.
It was Northwestern's first win over a ranked opponent since a
27-26 win over Michigan State in 2001.
"This is an awful good feeling. I'm thrilled for our kids,"
Wright also caught a 53-yard touchdown pass and ran for 97 yards
on 18 carries.
Wisconsin (6-3, 3-2) played without injured quarterback Jim
Sorgi, and lost running back Anthony Davis to injury early in the
game. The Badgers clearly missed them.
Backup quarterback Matt Schabert was effective running the ball
but overthrew several receivers, particularly on long routes.
Schabert was 20-of-36 for 193 yards and one interception. He was
the team's leading rusher with 57 yards.
"We didn't block them and we never did establish the running
game. Very frustrating," Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez said.
"Frustrating for the guys on the field and very unsettling for the
Brett Basanez threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Wright to give
Northwestern the early lead. Safety Jim Leonard was in position to
knock the throw down, but missed the ball and the receiver -- giving
Wright a clear path to the end zone for a 6-0 lead.
Joel Howells kicked the extra point into the back of his
offensive line. Howells, in for the injured Slade Larscheid, missed
again badly on a 25-yard field-goal attempt. Neither kick cleared
the line of scrimmage, and he was pulled for punter Brian Huffman.
Huffman made a 25-yard field goal.
Wisconsin's only points came on backup running backup Dwayne
Smith's 18-yard touchdown run.
The scoring play was set up by an interception by Chuckie Cowans
at the 48. Schabert ran the ball three times for 19 yards and had a
12-yard completion to Lee Evans on the drive.
The Badgers lost Davis late in the first quarter after just five
carries. Davis left after re-injuring his ankle and didn't return.
He has missed three games and parts of three others this season
because of a sprained left ankle.
Other than the one touchdown, the Badgers couldn't muster much
else on offense. Northwestern outgained Wisconsin 421-328, sacked
Schabert twice and forced him into a number of bad throws.
Northwestern defensive end Loren Howard the trick play seemed to
take the fight out of the Badgers.
"I looked over at their sideline in the third quarter and they
were lifeless. There was no emotion over there. I think at that
point they threw in the towel," Howard said. "They looked like a