12:00 PM ET, October 25, 2003
Ryan Field, EVANSTON, IL
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 Wisconsin crowd.
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," Walker said.
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 coaching staff."
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 dead log."
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-16||5-17|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||2-3|
|TD||3:42||JASON WRIGHT 53 YD PASS FROM BRETT BASANEZ (BLOCKED XP)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||6:55||DWAYNE SMITH 18 YD RUN (SCOTT CAMPBELL KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 52 yards.
|FG||1:44||BRIAN HUFFMAN 25 YD FG|
Drive info: 12 plays, 82 yards.
|TD||2:08||JASON WRIGHT 1 YD RUN (BRIAN HUFFMAN KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 80 yards.