Wisconsin awakens in second half, tops Georgia Southern

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Tanner Mordecai and Braelon Allen each ran for two scores and Wisconsin overcame another slow start with the aid of five interceptions to pull away in the second half for a 35-14 nonconference victory over visiting Georgia Southern on Saturday. The Badgers failed to capitalize on three interceptions en route to a 7-7 halftime tie, but finally turned their fourth pick into a score. James Thompson tipped Davis Brin’s pass at the line, and CJ Goetz intercepted at the Georgia Southern 40. Mordecai scored on an 18-yard scramble to put Wisconsin up 21-14 with 7:40 left in the third quarter. On the Eagles’ next possession, Hunter Wohler picked off Brin’s deep pass in the end zone. Wisconsin responded with a 10-play, 80-yard drive capped by Allen’s 2-yard run. Brin lost a fumble midway through the fourth quarter that stalled a drive at the Wisconsin 14. The Badgers then went 86 yards, going in front 35-14 on Chez Mellusi’s 1-yard run. Wisconsin (2-1) bounced back from a 31-22 upset loss at Washington State, where it trailed 24-9 at the half. Allen, held to 20 yards on seven carries vs. Washington State, rushed 12 times for 94 yards, including 78 in the second half. Mordecai completed 19 of 30 passes for 236 yards and ran for 36 yards. Brin completed 33 of 52 passes for 383 yards and one touchdown for the Eagles (2-1). After forcing Wisconsin to punt on its first possession of the third quarter, Brin needed just three passes to cover 75 yards, culminating in a 25-yarder to Jay McAfee that put Georgia Southern up 14-7. Wisconsin answered with a five-play, 58-yard scoring drive capped by Allen’s 4-yard run. Wisconsin went in front 7-0 when Mordecai scored on a 1-yard run to finish a 70-yard touchdown drive 42 seconds into the second quarter. The Eagles responded when Brin hit Derwin Burgess Jr. for a 68-yard completion, setting up OJ Arnold’s 4-yard touchdown run. The Eagles settled for a 7-7 halftime tie when Michael Lantz’s 48-yard field goal attempt on the final play fell short. Georgia Southern outgained Wisconsin 283-146 in the first half as the Badgers went three-and-out on four of their eight possessions.