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The Second Worst Moment of the Decade: Wisconsin 70 Nebraska 31

The 2012 Big 10 Title Game really felt like it was finally the Huskers’ time. Then the game started

Big Ten Championship - Nebraska v Wisconsin
Nebraska would get much more used to the sight of this in 2014.
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

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Wisconsin 70 Nebraska 31

2012 Big 10 Title Game

This paragraph from Sam in 2012 summed this game up quickly and more succinctly than I ever could.

“The defense gave up 640 total yards — including a school record 539 on the ground — to a third-string quarterback leading a Wisconsin offense ranked 84th nationally. The Badgers led 42-10 at halftime and gained 10.7 yards per play, their running backs acting like hot knives through Blackshirt butter. Three runs longer than 60 yards. Three backs gaining at least 100 yards.” – Sam McKeown Omaha World-Herald 12/1/2012

The Huskers had netted 477 yards of their own by the end of the night, but after spotting the Badgers 14 points in the opening minutes before climbing back to trail only 14-10 in the first quarter, Wisconsin reeled off 28 straight points to lead 42-10 at halftime and that was that.

Big Ten Championship - Nebraska v Wisconsin Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images


10/6/2012 - Ohio St. 63 Nebraska 38

The Huskers held a 24-21 lead late in the second quarter when the wheels came off. OSU outscored the Huskers 42-14 the rest of the way. So despite a season with a close loss to UCLA and some scrappy wins, there was evidence this was a team which could come unglued against well-matched competition.

The Huskers won their next 6 in a row over Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan St., Penn St., Minnesota and Iowa to finish 10-2. The Northwestern, Michigan St and Iowa games were all hard-fought scrappy wins which had Husker faithful thinking 2012 might finally be that championship season.

Remember when that just wasn’t quite good enough?

Wisconsin, on the other hand, came into the title game 7-5 with all five losses coming by three points including a 30-27 loss to the Huskers on September 29th in Lincoln.

That’s right - the Huskers had already defeated Wisconsin earlier that season! After falling behind 14-0 in the the first eight minutes, 21-3 early in the second quarter and 27-10 with 10:29 left in the third, the Blackshirts clamped down and the offense roared to life behind Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead to score 20 unanswered points in the game’s last 25 minutes and pulled out their first B1G win over the stinkin’ Badgers.

Instead of a championship, however, we were treated to something that more resembled a replay of the 1978 Orange Bowl rematch with Oklahoma after Osborne finally got his first win over the Sooners. Except instead of losing by 7, we got 70 hung on us.

(Uncontrollable cursing ensues. Let’s just move on.)

Hey, remember sophomore Melvin Gordon was the game’s leading rusher despite James White and Montee Ball being Wisconsin’s big two? Here’s a fun Melvin Gordon stat:

Melvin Gordon vs. the Huskers

2012 #1 - 2 carries-5 yards
2012 #2 - 9 for 216
2014 - 25 for 408

Total: 36 carries 629 yards - 5 TDS - 17.5 ypc

(More uncontrollable cursing)

Fun videos from the game:

Melvin Gordon goes for a 56 yard TD run to open the scoring. Okay, this one isn’t fun at all.

Taylor Martinez with his incredible 76 yard TD run:

Kenny Bell’s shoulder to chest block which proved once again that badminton is probably too violent a game for Big 10 refs to call without weeping uncontrollably:

Time for a shot - Happy New Year, everyone!