Evanston, IL (Sports Network) - Mike Kafka threw a pair of touchdown passes to Andrew Brewer, as Northwestern held on to upend 17th-ranked Wisconsin, 33-31, at Ryan Field.
Kafka finished with 326 yards on 26-of-40 efficiency for the Wildcats (8-4, 5-3 Big Ten), who ended the regular season on a three-game winning streak. Brewer made six grabs for 102 yards, while Sidney Stewart had 94 yards and a touchdown on four receptions.
Scott Tolzien completed 19-of-30 passes for 235 yards with two touchdowns to Garrett Graham and an interception that sealed Wisconsin's fate. John Clay had 100 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries for the Badgers (8-3, 5-3), but his fumble in late in the fourth quarter proved to be very costly.
Trailing 27-14, the Badgers took the opening kickoff of the third quarter and drove to the Northwestern 18-yard line before Philip Welch booted a 35-yard field goal.
The Wildcats were forced to punt and David Gilreath returned the ensuing kick 68 yards for a touchdown, pulling Wisconsin to within 27-24 with 8:16 to play in the stanza.
Northwestern's Stefan Demos kicked a 45-yard field goal four minutes later and nailed a 34-yarder 10 seconds into the fourth quarter to make it 33-24.
Tolzien then led Wisconsin on an eight-play, 54-yard drive that culminated in a 13-yard TD toss to Graham.
After a series of punts, the Badgers got the ball back at their own 34 with 3:43 to play. Facing 3rd-and-4, Wisconsin received a fresh set of downs via a pass interference call. Later on the drive, on 3rd-and-1 from the Wildcats' 46, Clay lost the handle and Brian Peters recovered for the home team with just under two minutes remaining.
Wisconsin had one last opportunity, but Tolzien was picked off by Jordan Mabin inside the final minute.
Northwestern raced out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter on a 26-yard touchdown grab by Brewer and a 45-yard Demos field goal.
A two-yard plunge by Clay early in the second quarter put Wisconsin on the board.
Scott Concannon fumbled on the Wildcats' first play of the next drive, allowing Wisconsin to take over at the Northwestern 37. Tolzien eventually hooked up with Graham for a 27-yard touchdown and 14-10 advantage.
Northwestern, though, responded with 17 unanswered points to carry a 27-14 lead into halftime.
Brewer made a sensational diving grab for a 12-yard score, then the Wildcats employed a little trickery. Kafka threw the ball to Zeke Markshausen behind the line of scrimmage and he proceeded to heave the ball to a wide open Stewart for a 38-yard TD. Demos drilled a 38-yarder with 34 seconds to go in the second frame.
Graham had 98 yards on six receptions, while Nick Toon caught seven passes for 80 yards for Wisconsin...The Badgers still lead the all-time series, 55-33-5...Wisconsin wraps up its regular season at Hawaii in two weeks.
- Via Sports Network.