4:00 PM ET, September 18, 2004
Arizona Stadium, TUCSON, AZ
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Delayed by lightning, drenched by rain and down by a touchdown in the fourth quarter, Wisconsin generated just enough offense to pull one out on the road.
Booker Stanley ran for a career-high 135 yards on 30 carries, including a 7-yard TD, and the Badgers (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today; No. 20 AP) rallied for a stormy 9-7 victory over Arizona on Saturday.
The game was delayed for 88 minutes in the second quarter because of lightning associated with Tropical Storm Javier.
"At one point, we didn't know if we were going to be able to finish the game," Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez said.
With more storm cells moving up from Mexico, Alvarez and Arizona coach Mike Stoops decided to get back on the field.
"We just wanted to get out there and go at it," said Badgers' defensive end Erasmus James, who had two sacks. "We've been waiting for this all week long."
Mike Allen, who missed a conversion try, kicked a 23-yard field goal with 3:47 to play for what proved to be the game winner.
"We're going to do whatever it takes to win," Wisconsin quarterback John Stocco said. "It's not going to be pretty all the time. But nobody quit and in the end we got the score to put the game away."
Arizona drove to the Wisconsin 25 on its last possession, but a false start penalty pushed the Wildcats back. Nick Folk, who earlier missed a 43-yarder to the right, missed one from 47 to the left with 43 seconds to play.
"He kicked it well. He just missed it," Stoops said. "It's part of football. It happens all the time."
Kris Heavner's 44-yard scoring pass to Mike Jefferson put Arizona up 7-0 with 32 seconds left in the first half, the only touchdown Wisconsin (3-0) has allowed this season.
The Wildcats (1-2), who lost to a nationally ranked team for the 16th straight time, recovered two Wisconsin fumbles and stopped the Badgers on fourth-and-1 at the Arizona 4.
However, Wisconsin converted on its three other fourth-down tries, including one each on both of its scoring drives.
"A lack of execution in critical situations down the stretch was the difference," Stoops said. "We need to keep knocking on the door and knock it down one of these days."
The Badgers used up 7:26 to drive 72 yards to the Arizona 5 and set up Allen's field goal. On fourth-and-5 from the Wildcats 35, Stocco threw six yards to Owen Daniels, who made a leaping catch at the 29.
"You talk about competing," Alvarez said. "The ball was not thrown very well, and he has to come down with that or the game may be over."
Stanley followed with a 16-yard run to the 12.
Stanley is filling in for star tailback Anthony Davis, who missed his second straight game with an eye injury.
"We just stuck with it and kept pushing," Stanley said. "I started breaking more tackles late in the game. I just kept running. I knew it was going to open up sooner or later. It eventually opened up when it counted."
Coaches for both teams agreed to skip halftime because of the long delay, which came with 6:13 left in the second quarter and the game scoreless.
During and after the unscheduled break, heavy rain drenched the grass field at Arizona Stadium.
When play resumed, Wisconsin moved from its 8 to its 27, then had to punt. Arizona got a first down at the Wisconsin 45, then on third-and-9, defender Jim Leonhard slipped on the muddy turf when Jefferson made his move.
"I slipped a little bit, but I just have to play it better -- period," Leonhard said. "The footing was great out there, for the weather. I made a mistake. You saw what happened. It almost cost us the game."
Heavner's throw was short, but Jefferson was so wide open he came back to catch it, then made it to the end zone.
The Badgers went 56 yards in 10 plays for their touchdown. On fourth-and-3 from the Arizona 27, Stocco faked a handoff up the middle, then ran outside to his left for eight yards to the 19. A 9-yard pass to Matt Bernstein set up Stanley's 7-yard touchdown run up the middle that made it 7-6 with 14:21 to play.
However, the snap on the conversion was high, and holder Ken DeBauche barely got the ball down. Allen's kick was wide right. Even before the storm hit, there was little offense from either team.
After a Wisconsin sack of Heavner forced Arizona to punt from its 14 on its first possession, Leonhard's tackle-breaking 23-yard return gave the Badgers the ball at the Arizona 34.
Stocco's keeper on fourth-and-1 at the Arizona 15 gave the Badgers a first down on the 13. But on fourth-and-1 at the 4, Bernstein was stopped for a 2-yard loss.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-15||2-11|
|4th Down Conversions||3-4||0-0|
|TD||0:32||MIKE JEFFERSON 44 YD PASS FROM KRIS HEAVNER (NICHOLAS FOLK KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 57 yards.
|TD||14:21||BOOKER STANLEY 7 YD RUN (MISSED KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 56 yards.
|FG||3:47||MIKE ALLEN 23 YD FG|
Drive info: 16 plays, 72 yards.