Nakia Watson scored two touchdowns against his former team as Washington State defeated No. 19 Wisconsin 17-14 on Saturday.
MADISON, Wisconsin (AP) — Nakia Watson scored two touchdowns against his former team as Washington State beat No. 19 Wisconsin 17-14 on Saturday.
Watson hit a 2-yard run in the second quarter and put the Cougars (2-0) ahead for good by converting a short finish into a 31-yard gain in the third quarter, leaving 5:12 in the third quarter . Watson rushed for 522 yards and five touchdowns in Wisconsin from 2019-20 before making a switch.
“He represented himself and all the work that he put in,” said Washington State coach Jake Dickert. “I am proud of him.”
A game with three turnovers from each team and several bizarre plays gave Dickert a happy homecoming.
Dickert was born in Waukesha, a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin about 65 miles east of Camp Randall Stadium. Dickert played for Wisconsin-Stevens Point from 2002 to 2006, and about 200 friends and family gathered for a tailgate Saturday before the game.
“My grandma said something to me today, your grandpa would be so proud if my grandpa were still there,” said Dickert. “This is a special moment. Special people who only know me as Jake Dickert. We always have been. I’m just proud to be able to win this game while they’re all here cheering for us.”
This game consisted of two separate games in which one team intercepted a pass and then fumbled the ball away, creating a first down for the team throwing the pick.
Trailing 17-14, Wisconsin (1-1) hit third and sixth from Washington State 9 midway through the fourth quarter when Christian Mejia intercepted a Graham Mertz pass before losing the football. Wisconsin rebounded at Washington State 20, but a post-game personal foul on Badgers tight end Clay Cundiff pushed them back to 35.
Cundiff then caught a 24-yard pass but Quinn Roff forced a fumble that Sam Lockett III recovered at 12 with 5:14 left.
Washington state never gave up ownership the rest of the way.
Wisconsin’s two touchdowns came from passes to Cundiff from Mertz in the second quarter. They connected with a 17-yarder and a 10-yarder, the latter coming 20 seconds before halftime.
Those were Cundiff’s first touchdowns since the tight end dislocated his right ankle, fractured a fibula and torn an ankle ligament in a win over Iowa last October. His first game from that injury came in Wisconsin’s 38-0 win over Illinois State last year.
Washington State rebounded from a 14-7 halftime deficit. The Cougars benefited from Wisconsin’s 11 penalty kicks and two missed field goal attempts.
“We didn’t help ourselves,” said Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst.
The Cougars were down 14-10 and finishing third and 10th of their 47 when Ward was hit by Kamo’I Latu while throwing a pass that Wisconsin’s Jay Shaw picked up. Washington State wide receiver Lincoln Victor then applied a hit that slapped the ball loose and center Konner Gomness recovered from fumbling at the Wisconsin 49.
Instead of losing the ball on the turnover, Washington State suddenly had a first down just past midfield.
Six plays later, Watson caught a pass just past the line of scrimmage, made a spin move to get past Latu at 30, and sped the rest of the way untouched for a 31-yard touchdown that left the Cougars 17-14 brought into the lead.
THE TAKE AWAY
Washington State: The Cougars overcame an injury to defenseman Derrick Langford Jr. and Ward’s two interceptions to earn a major away win.
Wisconsin: The Badgers controlled the ball for over 38 minutes but had constant failures. Vito Calvaruzo missed field goal attempts from 51 and 43 yards, and the Badgers had 103 yards on penalties.
Wisconsin is likely to drop out of the poll, while Washington State should get at least some votes.
Washington State: hosts Colorado State on Saturday.
Wisconsin: hosts New Mexico State on Saturday.
https://www.king5.com/article/sports/ncaa/ncaaf/cougars/watson-helps-washington-state-beat-no-19-wisconsin-17-14/281-d9cb1916-7d77-47ef-820f-ae0f4c090fcc Watson helps Washington State beat No. 19 Wisconsin 17-14